Captioning Multimodal Texts

The graphic below is a rectangular pictorial chart with vertical alignment. The image is titled “Five Ways the Think Rhetorically About Captioning.”

Since infographics are not accessible to screen readers, I have decided to caption this document in two ways, textually and aurally. In addition to trying to create an accessible art form, my reasoning for doing this is to gain experience with the rhetorical nature of captioning and to consider the decisions I must make when captioning a graphic with different tools and in different forms. Below, I’ve included the audio file and a textual version of this infographic.

Audio Infographic:

 

Textual Infographic: Five Ways to Think Rhetorically about Captioning

  1. Captioning is a research activity: Captioning images, movies, music, and voice requires close reading of texts. Captioning helps researchers identify and understand linguistic and conceptual patterns.
  2. Captioning inspires creativity: Captioning is its own art form that can inform the design process from the start. In Sean Forbes’s Music Video, I’m Deaf on YouTube, he creates several layers of meaning through creative captioning and visual communication.
  3. Captioning is good universal design: All designs should integrate captions to enhance readers’ experiences by providing multiple ways to access the text. Texts are more effective for all users when captioning is part of the design process, instead of an afterthought.
  4. Captioning is inclusive: Captioning allows all users to access a text, regardless of their abilities of preferred methods of engagement and access.
  5. Captioning requires rhetorical judgment: The captioner must consider the needs, abilities and concerns of his/her audience. Auto caption software doesn’t work because it cannot think rhetorically. The best way to understand the complex rhetorical nature of captioning is to caption a simple text (image, video, or audio) and track your rhetorical decisions and questions during the process.

 

Visual Infographic: Click the linked image below to launch the full-size infographic.

5 ways to think about captioning cropped

Visual Infographic: 5 Ways to Think Rhetorically about Captioning

This information was drawn from a variety of resources, including:

Activities:
The best way to understand the complex rhetorical nature of captioning is to caption a simple text (image, video, and/or audio) and track your rhetorical decisions and questions during the composing process.

About npiasecki

Instructor of Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Colorado Denver, specializing in 21st century skills, research, and creative nonfiction. Director of the Denver Writing Project, a local site of the National Writing Project's professional network for K through College educators.
This entry was posted in Blog Resources, Digital Composing Resources, Examples of Tech. Options and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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