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Blaming Screen Readers 🚩×5

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The “red flag” meme1 has been making rounds on Twitter and much like other ASCII memes2, they have accessibility issues as @asciiArtHelpBot and any readout of an ASCII meme will point out.

When you do point it out, people get angry at why it’s their problem and not up to the screenreader. In this article, Adrian explains why it’s up to you to make acessible memes and how you can’t just leave it up to the technology. In short, these memes have a lot of context which computers struggle with.

Tech is powerful and it can adress many acessibility issues3 but until it does, we should put more thought into making our content acessible whether it’s alt text, transcripts or memes. As he signs off:

Techniques to make your content accessible abound. They are no more than a quick search away should you care to try. Once a user (a fellow human) has raised a problem, you would have to actively work to ignore it. Which might make you kind of a jerk.

Also, while you are thinking of other people, wear a mask and get vaccinated.

This applies more so to people who supposedly care (irony poisoned leftists). I hope to keep this link ready whenever someone suggests why acessibility is their responsibility.


  1. The meme looks something like this: The text “blaming screen readers” followed by five red flag emojis, which is what the original title would be if he opted to be inconsiderate. ↩︎

  2. The 🚩 emoji is Unicode, specifically U+1F6A9, so it’s not quite ASCII much like most ASCII memes. Most people know it as ASCII memes so I’ll keep it at that. ↩︎

  3. To make acessible ASCII memes on a technical level, Ryan suggests wrapping them in a <pre role="img" aria-label="alt text"> tag. Main issue would be designing it for end users which would be quite hard. Then again, if it were easy, would we be paid as well? Or you can make users learn HTML so they can link out to a CodePen and make the meme in HTML which has the side effect of being higher quality. ↩︎

See Blaming Screen Readers 🚩×5 on adrianroselli.com