• 39th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference - March 18 - 22,2024 at the Anaheim Marriott

    The Premier AT Conference

38th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

Rethink Image Descriptions for a Better Learning Experience

Date & Time
Wednesday, March 15, 2023 - 4:20 PM PST  
Orange County 1-2  
In this session we will discuss how standard guidelines for writing text alternatives to media need to be adjusted for use in materials for education to consider cognitive load, informational density, an increased understanding of “context and purpose,” and more. Images (& videos) are of critical importance in digital learning materials. Media can add variety & engagement, provide an example without needing an explanation, present massive amounts of information while making it easy to process, & more. But this is only true for those who can perceive the media. It is often difficult to determine which of an image's "thousand words" are what a learner needs to be on equal footing with their peers. Unfortunately, most a11y guidelines focus on images in informational online materials such as newspaper articles & standard websites or videos for entertainment. While the underlying principles defining good alt text & video descriptions are the same in an informational context & an educational one, there are also fundamental differences. What students get out of our media is critical. Informational density is higher. Cognitive load is a factor. Unpredictable questions come up in a classroom. A description can't give away an answer on a test… This session will provide a refined set of guidelines to better meet the specific needs of learners.

This Presentation Link is provided by the Presenter(s) and not hosted by the Center on Disabilities at CSUN. The Center on Disabilities has confirmed, as of March 24 2023, content linked is relevant to the presentation, but has not been reviewed for accessibility nor will the Center on Disabilities attempt to remediate any accessibility issues in the linked content. Please contact the Presenter(s) with any accessibility concerns.

  • Higher Education
  • K-12 Education
  • Government
  • Healthcare & Rehabilitation
  • Media & Publishing
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
When your audience needs to learn, not just be informed, text alternatives must be written with extra considerations in mind. Apply this session's approach to increase the value of your descriptions for your learners.  
Primary Topic
Secondary Topics
  • Blind/Low Vision
  • Digital Accessibility
  • Web
Session Type
General Track  


  • Laura Ciporen
    McGraw Hill

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