Instagram is rolling out a new feature aimed at improving the app’s accessibility, allowing users to add alternate text descriptions to their photos and videos so followers with visual impairments to hear descriptions of that content.
In an official blog post late last week, it was revealed that AI will soon generate automatic descriptions of photos in the Feed, Explore and Profile sections of the app. The functionality will detect and list objects that may be featured in that imagery, and users will then be able to use screen-reading apps to translate those descriptions into the spoken word.
That alternative text functionality will also be made available to, uh, humans. Posters will be able to access the alternative text functionality through the Instagram menu so they can create custom descriptions of their imagery – which, let’s be honest, is probably preferable to a robot-generated read-out of a selfie.
INSTAGRAM NOW OFFERS ALT-TEXT! pic.twitter.com/gQDd1pOXIM— Blair Imani (@BlairImani) December 3, 2018
You can finally add alt text to your images on Instagram.— Sarah ????????♿️ (@fromsarahlex) November 30, 2018
Before uploading, click on Advanced Settings and then describe your pic, it doesn’t take long and it’ll make Insta more accessible for all #accessibility pic.twitter.com/nFGdezXA3P
The functionality is being automatically introduced to Australian users. At time of writing, some Australian iOS users already have the option to create their own custom alternative text. Meanwhile, a fair whack of Android users are waiting.
Still, it’s a cool feature which should make it just a bit easier to browse an app which hasn’t always been so accessible to the visually impaired.
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