A Webcomic Success Story

Today we have something positive to talk about for once. I know, hard to believe that something postive happened in the world. Even more unbelievable because this happened on the internet. But this is a true story.

The subject today is the webcomic Darth and Droids. The writers are retelling the Star Wars movies as if they were a role-playing game campaign, using screencaps for visuals. I find it rather amusing and it is a regular part of my weekly routine.

One thing I was always impressed with was the transcripts. Because the comic is entirely one image, the text can not be read by screen readers. The font choice, style, and layout might also make it difficult to read. This makes sure that it is accessible to more people.

Since its inception, the transcript has been labeled “Vision-impaired transcript.” While this is not the worst possible labeling (Transcript for the blind would be worse), one reader believed it was not as good as it could be:

But there was also a little piece that rankled: the transcript was labeled “Vision-impaired transcript”. Leaving aside the different respectful labeling conventions adhered to in the US and UK (“People-first” is a more US-centred concept, and isn’t as widespread in the UK), it really doesn’t need to be labeled beyond “transcript” at all – anyone most people can read the transcript or have it read to them, or might need to, whatever their visual sense ability.

She took her complaint to the authors, explaining both her feelings and the concern she had for other readers. The response was not juts dialogue about the issue. It was actual action. From David Morgan-Mar, one of the webcomic’s creators:

Hi, I’ve made the change you suggest. Thanks for expressing your concern. Truthfully, I’d been thinking the same thing for some time, but was too lazy to change it until now..

If you go to their website today, you will see every page is now has a simple “Transcript,” nothing else. This is the proper response when you accidentally cause someone else pain. You look at how you hurt them, understand why the pain was caused, and do what you can to prevent it from happening again. This shows the authors are concerned about accessibility, about proper language, and about feelings of their readers.

Well done Darth and Droids. That’s a gold star effort.

-That is all.


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