This week Instagram announced on their press platform a new update they’re working on. With this update, developers are adding auto and manual descriptions of photos. Therefore, users with visual impairment would now have a seamless Instagram experience.
“We are introducing two new improvements to make it easier for people with visual impairments to use Instagram”, their statement began. “With more than 285 million people in the world who have visual impairments, we know there are many people who could benefit from a more accessible Instagram”, they added.
Instagram develops new AI update to help users with visual impairment
The two new improvements are automatic alternative text and the custom/ manual alternative text. Now alternative text on its own is nothing new, but the way Instagram plans on using it is rather innovative.
Automatic alternative text would be generated by the app itself
So with this, Instagram would generate descriptions of photos through screen readers when visually impaired users are browsing the Feed, Explore, and Profile sections. The feature uses object recognition technology that examines each photo, and comes up with a list of recognized items in the image. The app will then read out for users to hear.
“We know there are many people who could benefit from a more accessible Instagram.”
On the other hand, custom/manual feature allows other users to have more control over their alternative text. You only have to go to your advanced settings, and turn on the ‘Write alt text’ option.
Twitter also introduced a similar feature and in the same year as Facebook. The feature can be enabled on Twitter’s app as well as on the website.
Meanwhile, Instagram promises to roll out more improvements, as these are only the first steps “toward creating a more accessible Instagram.”