Notes from the Task Force
Since the culmination of the Picture a Scientist Film Screening, the Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) has focused on digital accessibility to EEGS. We are excited that online platforms help reduce the financial barrier and physical barriers to engaging with science. The question is, how do we make them better? What does EEGS need to do to make our geophysics and engineering community more accessible to all people? Our pandemic-era reliance digital platforms give us the opportunity to reinvent how we relate to our community and what forms of communication best suit current members and potential new members.
Throughout their careers, geoscientists may struggle with dyslexia, vision impairment, hearing loss, or language barriers. Our increased reliance on digital platforms during the pandemic has allowed us to connect with friends and colleagues around the world on a regular basis. The DEI Task Force has been working to make our digital platform more accessible to all people.
Have you seen the new EEGS website?
This past month, the EEGS Task Force on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion implemented a translation tab on our website. You can now use the Google Translate plug-in to translate the EEGS webpage into more than 100 languages. We have
members from 35 countries and we had attendees at the most recent Picture Scientist Film Screening event from 13 different countries. This feature allows us to communicate with geophysicists and engineers around the world who are curious about how near-surface geophysics can help them achieve their goals.
We aim to continue to improve our digital space for those who are using assistive access devices. We are also working to implement alt-text designations on the EEGS website. These alt-text tags are short text-based descriptions for images that appear on the webpage. People who have a visual impairment may use a screen reader to navigate our web page. A screen reader uses Text-to-Speech (TTS) to convert visual elements of a webpage into speech or braille. The TTS translation relies on the alt-text of an image to describe the webpage to the user so our tagging of images is essential to the accessibility of the page. In addition, the alt-text is processed by Google so that users can find them when accessing images in Google Image search.
Since screen readers are essential to people with visual impairments to navigate our digital world, we also aim to implement inclusive practices for our social media accounts. This means capitalizing all letters in hashtags (#AccessiblityIsImportant) because screen readers cannot differentiate individual words that are not capitalized within hashtags. If you are interested in learning more about digital accessibility, search for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
What would you like to see?
As EEGS continues to provide resources to its members on digital platforms throughout the pandemic we will make additional improvements to our website. Do you have suggestion on how to make the EEGS digital space more accessible? What would you like to see on the website? Let us know here by sending us an email at email@example.com. Find out more about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at EEGS by visiting our webpage at: https://www. eegs.org/diversity-equity-and-inclusion