Instagram is a “visual” platform, but it wants people with visual impairments to be able to enjoy it as well. To help them, it’s introducing two new improvements to make it easier for them to do so.
With over 285 million visually impaired people in the world, Instagram wants to make sure they can “benefit from a more accessible” platform. So, this week it’s introducing two new related features:
The first is automatic alternative text that allows visually impaired users to listen to descriptions of photos through their screen readers when using Feed, Explore, and Profile. In the announcement for the feature, Instagram says that it “uses object recognition technology to generate a description of photos for screen readers so [users] can hear a list of items that photos may contain as [they] browse the app.”
The second is a custom alternative text so that users can provide richer descriptions of photos when they upload them. Similar to the automatic alternative text, people using screen readers will be able to hear this custom alternative in these images and not the automatic alternative.
Facebook has been developing this technology for some time, so it’s quite surprising that Instagram – the “visual” platform is only now getting around to doing so.
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