Instagram announced in a short blog post that it is making the app more accessible to the visually impaired. there are many visually impaired people on Instagram who can use a better photo description.
“With more than 285 million people who have visual impairments, we know there are many people who could benefit from a more accessible Instagram,”
Instagram wrote, before explaining the new feature: alternative text descriptions for posts in the Feed and the Explore sections of the app, which would allow screen-reading software to automatically describe pictures out loud to users.
Users can manually add their photo descriptions in the advanced settings while posting, only a small tweak from what a few accessibility-conscious Instagram users were doing already — writing more literal or detailed descriptions of their pictures directly in their caption. Also, Instagram will use its object recognition abilities to automatically create descriptions for photos that the user does not provide them.
Responses to the feature were generally warm, with Instagram receiving appreciations from visually impaired users in reply to their announcement tweet.
“We are introducing two new improvements to make it easier for people with visual impairments to use Instagram. With more than 285 million people in the world who have visual impairments, we know many people could benefit from a more accessible Instagram.”
The first feature, automatic alternative text, employs object recognition tech to produce audio captions that work with screen readers.
“First, we’re introducing automatic alternative text so you can hear descriptions of photos through your screen reader when you use Feed, Explore and Profile. This feature uses object recognition technology to generate a description of photos for screen readers so you can hear a list of items that photos may contain as you browse the app.”
Going further, people can manually add alternative text to their posts to better describe pictures for those who have visual impairments.
“Next, we’re introducing custom alternative text so you can add a richer description of your photos when you upload a photo. People using screen readers will be able to hear this description.”
Look for “Advanced Settings” while posting to use the custom alternative text feature.