I was looking at a question concerning the redstone simulators in Minecraft when one of the answers was just a picture. I thought that it wasn't aceptable because it almost qualifies as a "Link only answer". Videos I can understand but pictures is a little skimpy. Should we flag the answers that are just pictures and say "This is the answer"?
If the picture answers the question, then yes, it is perfectly acceptable to post an image as an answer. In fact, sometimes, an image is the best way to give an answer, such as when you're dealing with flow charts and the like. We should by no means treat them the same as link only answers and flag them. It is unfortunate that some users will not be able to see them and have their question answered, but is not a good reason to deny everyone else the useful answer.
Examples of useful answers where most of the info is in an image:
Yes, there is some minor text as well, but it is the image itself that answers the question, and that would still be true if the text was missing. Unlike link answers, images do not require a user to go to another site (assuming the link doesn't go dead) and then hunt around for the answer on a page that may contain 100,000 other words of text, or may not even contain the answer anymore. Likewise, videos are so much worse than an image, because often the answer is about 10-15 seconds worth of some 10 minute video that was linked. It often has the same problem of making the user hunt through all the extra noise to find their answer. Images embedded directly in the answer have none of these problems.
That said, if you think the answer doesn't need to be an image, feel free to edit it to be text instead if you can still maintain its quality and ease of use for the majority of readers. But don't flag it just because its an image.
Good question. As such we've been having some discussions of late around accessibility, see these questions here:
- Please fill in the alt text for images on this site
- Using code ticks for technical term highlighting considered harmful
The general consensus being we should be thinking about different users of the site, and how we can best cater to them.
An image only answer isn't very usable for people who use screen reading software, and filling in an alt text, (whilst helpful) doesn't quite give the whole picture (pardon the pun). As such, I think its best if you use videos and images as supporting artifacts only, and put the meat and veg of the question/answer as text.