Advanced blogging – The Usual Rushed Texts

The first time I noticed the speed of the screen reader of a blind person I was overwhelmed. I barely could catch each word. The speed was at least twice the speaking speed of a person.

Imagine a friend who excitedly talks about a great job offer.
It sounds like a rushed text.

“Are you a member of the Guild?”
“Last time I checked.”

Show me the code

The default editor in WordPress is the visual editor. For beginners this is a great way to begin. The text is shown in the same way the visitors will read it. There is a catch. Sometimes the editor will change the look and feel.

For me the visual editor in WordPress hided too much information, so I used the code editor. I was editing HTML files and checked the changes in the visual editor.

For fast writing, HTML provides a nice structure: headings. I just put some keywords or short sentences in the file. Jerry Weinberg called them fieldstones. I kept the rest of the words in my mind and added them later on.

Let me show and tell

I always thought that it was a good idea to show what I did. Pictures can clarify a lot. A lot of pictures can clarify a lot more.

in the visual editor the picture had a bad contrast. I thought that I shrunk the picture too much. The picture looked good in the preview mode.

No alternative text

If I did not use an alternative text, then the screen reader would read the following aloud:
“Just to be sure I turned off the highlighting.”

In this case NVDA, a screen reader, used the path and file name instead of the empty alternative text.

“This is not according to the code of the Guild.”

Non descriptive alternative text

If I did use a short alternative text, then the screen reader would read the following aloud:
“Just to be sure I turned off the highlighting.
Dialog without highlighting”

This sounds like a rushed text. In the picture there are more details worth mentioning.

“This is not part of the deal.”

A complete alternative text

In my blog post I used a descriptive alternative text, then the screen reader would read the following aloud:
“Just to be sure I turned off the highlighting.
In the left image or baseline “Cap” in the username is shown, in the right image or checkpoint the username is empty. In the right upper corner, there is a thumb down button.”

“This is the way.”


Let me break down the structure. First, I wrote a text with a short introduction to the picture. Then the alternative text was a detailed description of the picture. A screen reader user would hear a normal story. This way I told a story with normal texts and alternative texts in a natural flow.

For the third blog post about Visual TDD in Test Automation I had a separate file for alternative texts. This was handy for the consistency of the text. But I disliked the continuously switching of files: open WordPress, go to the location of the picture, open the editor with the alternative texts, copy the desired text, and paste the text at the right spot in WordPress.

So I put all my alternative texts into the HTML file. This saved me some application switching. It might have some impact on the consistency of the alternative texts.

Even worse, I needed to do some spell checking.

I have a spell on you

The problem with blogging is that the mind is faster than the hands. This often leads to spelling and punctuation errors.

For the creative mind, speed is essential. I could lose my train of thoughts. This is why I gladly accept any typos.
It sounds like a rushed text.

WordPress uses the browser spell check. This is focused on the right spelling of the words. The syntax of the sentences is ignored.

If I spell check my blog post, then I go to the visual editor. I copy the text into my favourite word processor and start the spell checking. Because I was worried about the layout, I change the text in both WordPress and the text editor.

Fine, but what about the alternative text?
A simple solution is:

  • go to the picture
  • copy the alternative text
  • paste in your favourite word pressor
  • do a spell check

There is one place where all the alternative texts are shown and that is the HTML file. The code editor shows all the lines including the alternative texts, which are not shown in the visual editor.

Simple solution

My advice would be: search for alt in the html file and copy the stuff.

Difficult solution

For the selection of my alternative texts, I chose a complicated solution.
This paragraph is meant for people with an IT background. You are free to skip this.

If you are using a screen reader, please set the interpunction level to all.

I opened baregrep, a shareware tool which can filter lines of codes with the text “alt”. This basically means: give me all the lines with alternative texts. I was lucky that I did not use words like alternative or salt.

Baregrep shows all the lines of the files with the file name ending with "v1t.txt" in the subdirectory D:\Users\Han Toan\Mijn documenten\Blog\2020 Blog containing the text alt!

I copied the output.

The Export Test Results Dialog has a To Clipboard button!

The next step is to use VIM, a free software program with a typical interface. I pasted the text in my word processor.

VIM shows the pasted lines of the test results!

The file contained one picture with an alternative text on a different line.

  • : means, that I wanted to execute an ed command. ed is an editor command.
  • % is for all lines in the file
  • s is short for substitute.
  • /^.*alt="/ is the pattern, which I looked for between / and /.
    • ^ is from the beginning of the line.
    • .* is zero or more arbitrary characters.
    • alt=" is the literal text “alt=””
  • // is the text between / and /, which must be used for the replacement. In this case this is an empty string.

The whole command removed all the text from the beginning of the line until and including “alt=”in every line.


  • : means, that I wanted to execute an ed command. ed is an editor command. What I basically write, is “ed, I am talking to you. The following command is for you.”
    It is like a home assistant: “VIP Home app, I am talking to you. The following command is for you.”
  • % is for all lines in the file
  • s is short for substitute.
  • /".*/ is the pattern, which I looked for between / and /.
    • " is the literal text “.
    • .* is zero or more arbitrary characters.
  • // is the text between / and /, which must be used for the replacement. In this case this is an empty string.

The whole command removed all the text from ” until the end of the line in every line.

The last step is to copy the lines into the word processor for the final spell checking.

For the people who like to quit VIM without saving:

  • : means, that I wanted to execute an ed command. ed is an editor command. What I basically write, is “ed, I am talking to you. The following command is for you.”
    It is like a home assistant: “VIP Home app, I am talking to you. The following command is for you.”
  • q is quit.
  • ! means without saving, because I am sure.

Back to Media for the change

Then I updated the alternative texts in Media, where all my pictures are stored.
If you are using a screen reader, you can set the interpunction level to your favourite setting.

Here is the change

A few days later I noticed that the wrong alternative texts were included in the blog post. I tried to figure out what happened.
Who was the usual suspect?

The moment I inserted a picture from the Media in my blog post, a copy of the HTML code was used. Any later changes in Media remained there. So I had to change the text again in the code editor.

One of my kids summarised my story as follows:
if you send your homework to school, then you send a copy of the file.

I could have chosen to replace the old pictures in the blog post with the latest pictures in Media. I was afraid to add the wrong picture. Then I should not forget the resizing.

So I edited the alternative texts in the visual editor.

Listen carefully. I only tell this once.

Pro tip: use the screenreader to read your text aloud. Some typos are difficult to see, but are easy to hear.
Just hover with your mouse over the text and hear it.

“I have spoken.”

Advanced blogging – Honey, I Shrunk The Pictures.

Small recap

It took me three days and three takes to make 26 pictures. Now I had to shrink the pictures to a smaller size. This would lead to a faster download of the blog post and hopefully a better performance of my blog post.

This is not the standard look-how-great-I-am blog post. It is more like look-how-I-stumbled-forward.

Reminder to myself:
As a tester I built this website to share information, but also to get a better understanding of building websites. The more I blog, the better I test.

Here, have some notes

Writing a blog post is creating an introduction, a good end, and something in between. The last part was still missing.

I only had notes and pictures in a charter. As an experienced tester I made my observations including date and time. I used the abbreviation PIC for Picture.

20201012 blogging
PIC 10:37 Screen print 
Input: Cap / Secret.
PIC 10:44 debug menu
PIC 10:46 first breakpoint.
PIC 10:47 Cap in screen.

All my pictures had names like “20201012 – 1.2 debug program.jpg”:

  1. “20201012” is the date when the picture was taken. The format is year in 4 digits, the month in 2 digits, and the day in 2 digits.
  2. “1.2” means Take 1 and Step 2.
  3. “debug program” describes the picture.
  4. “.jpg” describes how the picture is stored. I chose this file format, because it is great for editing. That is a bit of a spoiler.

The big advantage of this name is that I can order the pictures on name.
I must have looked like a Holywood director. Day 1, take 1.

Now I had to make a link between my actions and the pictures. Luckily, I had used descriptive names for the screen pictures. These pictures had a day and time stamp, so it was easy to place the file names at the right places in my blog post.

20201012 blogging
PIC 10:37 Screen print -  20201012 - 1.1 three breakpoints.jpg
Input: Cap / Secret.
PIC 10:44 debug menu - 20201012 - 1.2 debug program.jpg 
PIC 10:46 first breakpoint. - 20201012 - 1.3 - first breakpoint.jpg
PIC 10:47 Cap in screen.- 20201012 - 1.4 - fill in username.jpg

Processing a picture

A 288 kb picture is too big for my blog post. I figured out several steps to cut down the size.


The first step is to determine whether a box should be placed in the picture. If this was the case, I used a green bordered and transparent rounded rectangle for highlighting.I would add “+box”:
e.g. “mindful-tester-p3-20201012 – 1.4 – fill in username+box.jpg”.

Let me break down the name again:

  1. “mindful-tester” is the name of my blog.
  2. “p3” is the third part of TDD in Test Automation.
  3. “20201012” is the date when the picture was taken.
  4. “fill in username” is the description of the picture.
  5. “+box” states that a rectangle is placed in the picture for highlighting an important detail.
  6. “.jpg” describes how the picture is stored.

In case of no box I did not add anything at the end of the name.
This would lead to:
“mindful-tester-p3-20201012 – 1.4 – fill in username+no+box.jpg”
After a while, I did not use the “+no+box” any more, because it did not add value.

I stored the old version of the file in case of any mistakes.
So far, so good.

Zooming in

The second step was that I cropped the picture: I would cut a rectangle out of the picture and save it. My favourite shareware tool is irfanview. Less pixels means smaller size and better performance.


The third step was to shrink the picture also using irfanview.
This way a picture of 288 kb could be shrunk to 40 kb.

In the Resize/Resample image dialog of irfanview the "Set new size as percentage of original" is selected. The Width and Height are set to 100%!

Note: for this blog post I accidentally used a png file. png is like jpg a way to store pictures. Only irfanview would not let me resize the png picture using percentages.

In WordPress I resized the picture to maximum size. I selected a corner of the picture and stretched the picture. This way the user does not have to click on the picture to see the details.

The new file name was:
I left out the date and the spaces in the name.

Was this a joyful experience for me? Not really.
So the time of processing pictures became longer and longer, until I forgot my process.

Processing pictures

The status of the picture was not clear in the file name. Also, the location of the pictures had its own logic. So the time between the editing of one picture and the editing of another picture became longer and longer.

So I made a nice file with all kind of instructions, “Instructions printscreens programming.txt”.
This included files, their contents, and their locations.
Exploratory blogging in a nutshell.

Only to discover that I had already “Overview files.txt” in place.
Exploratory blogging takes practice.

Because a lot of time was spent on editing the pictures, I did not remember my steps well enough while writing. Now pictures are handy, because pictures do not lie. So I had to change my story a few times.

Looking at some pictures I missed the essential point of the picture. So I added the transparent rectangle and went through the whole editing process again. Even after cropping the picture the important details were too small in some cases. So I split pictures in certain cases.

Placing a picture in a blog post is quite tiresome. I had to go to the right location, search the right picture, and upload it. Not enjoyable at all.

But I already knew what I wanted to upload. So I opened Media and uploaded all the pictures using one drag and drop.

Then I searched for the first picture to be included using PIC for Picture. All my files had an unique name like
Using the filter I searched for the file with 1.4 in the name. Then I selected the file.
In the Add media dialog of WordPress the Search Field is set to "1.4". The result of the search is a single picture containing a part of the Login Page!

Uncomfortable observations afterwards

  • At the end I shrunk the total size of my pictures in the blog post to a quarter: from 8 Mb to 2 Mb, which is still big. Is it still possible to shrink the pictures without losing the important details?
  • I did not check the size of my blog post with the preview version.
  • Chrome Devtools contains Lighthouse, an accessibility tool. My site scored 58 on a scale from 1 to 100 for performance. This is not really high.
  • The setting of “the most number of blogs posts show on page” was still on 5. I forgot to save this setting. Saving a setting in WordPress was not consistent with saving an alternative text for picture.
  • The trouble with pictures is, that it can cost a lot of time. This will decrease my enjoyability. It makes my blogging slower. On the other hand it will increase the enjoyability of the readers. At the end this will increase my enjoyability. I like to read my own blog posts. I might call this the Enjoyability Paradox. Things which I did, were no fun, but finishing the blog post was good for my mood.

Coming up

At the end of the picture processing, I had a bunch of pictures without alternative texts. For blind people or people with bad sight this had to be fixed. A screen reader needed these texts to describe the pictures aloud. This was about accessibility.

Advanced blogging – Unfamiliar Quality Attributes

What would be a good opening for this blog post?

  1. Content is king!
    Narrator: “It is used so much, that it is boring.” [Sigh]
  2. Meta blogging is blogging about blogging.
    Narrator: “Now you lost me.”
  3. It took Thrisha Gee months to make a good video of 20 minutes. I had screenshots of 20 minutes of testing. Now I fully understood her.
    Narrator: “Tell me more.”

My favourite opening for this post is the last one.
But I am too late. I already started with a rethorical multiple choice question.

Some stats

In the past months I made 2 blog posts with lots of pictures, so I had some experiences how to deal with this case.
This time it was 3 days, 3 takes, and 26 pictures.


Let me do some calculations. 26 pictures of the screen with a size of 288 kb would make an 8 Mb post. This is not what my readers are waiting for. Downloading!

I was experiementing with the number of posts on my home page and following pages. This would reduce the number of pictures on 1 page significantly. In WordPress it looks like this:
After selecting Settings and Reading there is an option to set blog pages show at most to 3 posts!

The story is, that mobile friendly web sites had a major impact on SEO or Search Engine Optimalisation. If a user can view the website fast enough on his or her mobile, then the search engine will place it high in the list of search results.


For deaf people and people with bad hearing there were no obstacles on my blog. I did not use any movies. Let me describe a scene of a closeup of a face in 3 ways:

  1. No options used.
  2. Undertitles
    [Typing sounds]
    [“What are you typing?”]
    [“I saw something strange.”]
  3. Closed captions
    [Face of a programmer is shown.]
    [Tester is typing on the keyboard]
    [Programmer: What are you typing?”]
    [Tester: “I saw something strange.”]

If I will add a movie, then I really like to use the closed captions.

In the past I used cursive font, but this is bad for people who are visually impaired or have a bad view. So I stopped using it.

I even increased the contrast of my quotes.

This is a quote with a good contrast.

For programming dark mode is quite convenient for visually impaired people. White characters on a black background are more readable than black characters on a white background.

Blind and visually impaired peoplemight  have or might have problems with text in a picture. An image cannot be read aloud by a screen reader. I could add an alternative text to the image.
The visible part of the alternative text of a picture of 3 lines of codes with 2 comments is: "eyes.checkWindow("1");// eyes.check"!

The screen reader could read it aloud, but the whole structure of the code would be gone. Several lines of code are spoken as a single line of code. This is confusing.

eyes.checkWindow("1");// eyes.checkWindow("2");// eyes.checkWindow("3");

could be interpreted as:


So I used the pre tag of HTML to display the code in a proper way using the code editor:

// eyes.checkWindow("2");
// eyes.checkWindow("3");

Now I had to find an efficient way to include 26 pictures  with alternative texts for a single blog post.


My target audience was programmers who know the basics of Java and an IDE or Integrated Development Environment.
I also counted on the fact that they had the tools properly installed. This is described in other places.

For me a story is more enjoyable to review than a set of instructions. This spreadsheet blog post contains a set of boring instructions.

It was a challenge to stop myself to turn the new blog post into a set of pictures. Another way of boring.

Was there a way to add some humour to it?

Coming up

In the next blog post I will focus on reducing the size of the blog post.

Sharing knowledge about testing and other things on my mind