Things That Crack Me Up #37

This is a the latest of a series at my blog, usually consisting of an amusing visual image about disability. Visual descriptions are meant to both assist those who cannot view the image well, and encourage discussion when others see something different.

Braille webcomic

Visual description: A one-pane comic, drawn very simply. A stick figure stands next to a sign posted on a wall that reads “Third Floor Office” with some Braille just below those words. At the top of the comic: “I learned to read Braille a while back, and I’ve noticed that the messages on signs don’t always match the regular text.” The stick figure touching the Braille signage has a thought balloon translating what she reads: “S-I-G-H-T-E-D P-E-O-P-L-E S-U-C-K … Hey!”

Comic source

h/t to Andrea at Andrea’s Buzzing About

Cross-posted at The Gimp Parade

This entry posted in Cartooning & comics, Disabled Rights & Issues, Whatever. Bookmark the permalink. 

15 Responses to Things That Crack Me Up #37

  1. 1
    Tom T. says:

    I sometimes have similar thoughts when I see a person wearing a T-shirt with Asian calligraphy on it. For all the wearer presumably knows, the shirt’s message may be something thoroughly embarrassing.

  2. 2
    Raznor says:

    Ahh, xkcd, how I love it.

    I’d be interested to know if someone translated the braille on the sign, if that’s what it really says.

  3. 3
    Leora says:

    I know Braille. And that’s what it really says. And it is in Grade 2, even. Which is a contracted (and thus more advanced) form of Braille.

    That guy from xkcd. He is my secret internet crush.

    (And as a visually impaired person, I can’t totally support the statement that sighted people suck, but they often seem to have very little common sense. I love it when the lights go out for whatever reason and sighted people all the sudden can’t figure out how on earth to dial a phone. Like 123, 456, 789, *0# is IMPOSSIBLE for them to memorize.)

  4. 4
    Ampersand says:

    Kay, are you familiar with the “Braille Graffiti” project? This cartoon reminded me of it.

    (Photo shows an outdoor wall, with a pasted-on sign saying “braille graffiti.” Underneath that sign is another sign, larger, in Braille. The Braille says “You don’t have to be blind to see that the writing is on the wall.”

    (And xkcd is awesome.)

  5. 5
    Daran says:

    Kay, are you familiar with the “Braille Graffiti” project? This cartoon reminded me of it.

    So sighted people see the graffiti, but don’t understand it, while blind people walk past without noticing it’s there.


  6. 6
    Auguste says:

    On the “assisting others who do not see the image well”, I have no objection to it, it seems like an important thing. It does make me wonder – was there a limitation to the alt attribute that makes it of less use to those who can’t see the image well without breaking up the flow of a post?

    I ask this in weighing whether to use them or not (not that I’ve been 100% responsible in using the alt attribute anyway.)

  7. 7
    Ampersand says:

    That is a funny way of considering it, Daran. (Funny in the sense of “an intentionally amusing comment,” not in the sense of “strange”).

    FWIW, from the “Drawn” blog:

    I had some issues with the seemingly unnecessary “braille graffiti” sticker above the actual braille writing at first. But I changed my mind about it when Scott explained that it’s “included in an attempt to draw attention to all who pass making it more likely for a blind person to come in contact with the words via suggestion from friends or passersby.”

  8. 8
    Raznor says:

    Yeah, after writing my last comment, I paid closer attention to the braille – noticed that the number of letters matched, letters repeated as necessary and so on. It impresses me, since he could have just drawn a bunch of random dots and the joke would still be intact. The attention to detail – even in a comic featuring stick figures.

  9. 9
    Silenced is Foo says:

    @Leora – the problem is that different devices have the number 1 in the top corner (phones), and other devices have it in the bottom corner (keyboards, calculators). I’m always getting confused which has which. I’m sure it’s worse for the blind, though.

    And yes, XKCD is my personal Jesus.

  10. 10
    Leora says:

    @Silence is Foo

    Hee hee! Actually my point was is the we (the blind) have no trouble keeping that straight. Phones vs. keyboards and calculators, that is. We also can remember the whole keyboard to boot. (Which many touch typist can as well.) So 12 little buttons doesn’t seem that hard.

    But anyway, I was just joking.

  11. 11
    Kay Olson says:

    Amp, yes, I’ve seen the Braille graffiti before, but hadn’t thought of it here. It’s an interesting idea, posting graffiti that will generally never be read by the people who utilize the language, but will be seen by people who cannot read it. I like that it turns the colonizing gaze/stare us sighted people have over the blind on its head a bit.

    August: I think alt tags are good. I think using both alt tags and in-text description provide more detail. I’m also currently getting used to a new computer — my PC died and I bought a Mac to avoid facing Vista and its limitations. I’m struggling a bit to even post just now, what with learning a new machine, OS, a fancy mouse that won’t let me cut and paste like I’m used to, etc, so my own project to incorporate more and more accessibility features into my writing is totally on hold until I re-acclimate. But I think alt tags are one key to accessible blogging we should all try to use, along with long description tags, in-text description, layouts and fonts that are not hard to follow, and other similar tactics.

  12. 12
    Silenced is Foo says:

    Speaking of alt-tags, XKCD always has a second joke about the comic in the alt/title tags. Always good to include the alt-text (although, for the sake of the image-file-impared, probably better to include the alt-text as separate text from the comic)

  13. The alt text for this one is
    Alt Text: The only big difference I’ve seen is in colors. Where the regular text reads “press red button”, the braille reads “press two-inch button”.
    which doesn’t add much, but sometime the alt text is crucial and can change the whole meaning of the comic, like today’s:
    Alt text: And the journal is filled with all the things I’d say to her if I were nice like you. I burn it when it’s full.

  14. 14
    Mandolin says:

    Wow, aa. I read that comic but didn’t read the alt-text (I forget sometimes). I like it better with.

  15. 15
    Bjartmarr says:

    Actually, just to nitpick a little, the xkcd author uses the “title” attribute for the bonus text for his cartoons, not the “alt” attribute.

    “Title” is intended to offer supplementary, advisory information about the object, while “alt” is intended to provide an alternative representation of the object for those who can’t see the primary representation. Using a “title” on an image is optional, but using an alt is (should be) mandatory, even if only to say alt=”” (i.e. if you can’t see the picture, then ignore it entirely; it’s just decoration.)