How to Post Images on Tumblr With Better Accessibility


Screenshot of Tumblr post options with the Photo option crossed out.

Tumblr’s Photo upload tool is inherently unfriendly to screen readers. Even if you include an image description, Tumblr is set up in such a way that it will read ALL the caption text TWICE. This is particularly bad when images come with long text posts beneath them. Additionally these descriptions are easily lost after several reblogs, rendering them useless and adding confusion.

Screenshot of Tumblr post options with the Text option highlighted.

Instead, use Tumblr’s Text tool. Why? Because with the Text tool you can provide actual HTML friendly image descriptions that screen readers will love. And with every reblog, the description will stick with the image. No need for crowd sourced solutions. Here’s how to do it.

Screenshot of the Text post tool. The Upload photo link is highlighted.

Select the “+ Upload photo” option in the upper right-hand corner. This will open your browser’s image upload dialogue. Select the image and choose OK. This will add the image into the post area. 

Screenshot of Text post tool with an image uploaded and highlighted, the Insert/Edit Image tool is circled..

Now highlight the image you’ve uploaded and select the “Insert/edit image” tool. This will open a small image properties window. 

Screenshot of the Insert/Edit window.

Now describe your image in the image description field. Remember to keep your description short. Less than 90 characters. If there are additional nuances you wish to highlight about the image, you should cover them in the text post following the image. Remember to describe only the facts of the image. Don’t include your opinions, save those for the text post following the image.

You’ve now uploaded an image that most screen readers will have an easy time handling.

Additional Benefits With This Method:

You can post multiple images in one post and avoid the horrible Flash photo slideshow. 

Problems With This Method:

You lose support for high quality images. This can be overcome by linking to the image hosted somewhere else that supports high quality images, like Flickr. 

This also complicates content source links. If you’re afraid of your images being stolen, try including watermarks and linking each image to your personal portfolio. However even with a regular image post, you risk people stealing your content. 

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