Instagram Adds New Features for Users With Visual Impairment

For people with visual impairment, Instagram just got a bit easier to use. The photo-heavy social media app announced two new features today that will let screen readers read photo descriptions generated through artificial intelligence as well as custom text written by users.

The automatic alternative text relies on object recognition to generate a description. The feature can be used on Instagram’s Feed, Explore, and Profile pages. Essentially, you’ll be able to scroll through a feed and hear what Instagram’s software thinks it sees in each photo as you browse.

Instagram is also letting users write more in-depth alt text when they upload photos. So in addition to an incredibly witty caption like “Had an amazing photoshoot with ... #canon #profoto”, you’ll be able to access an alternate text option inside an advanced settings page. In it, you could write a more functional description like, “I took this photo of ... , a guy who's a totally inspiration to people because of .. ”

Instagram isn’t the first social media service to add accessibility features for people with visual impairment. Both Twitter and Facebook have offered accessibility options, including image descriptor text, for years. Still, it’s nice to see such an image-heavy app like Instagram take the time to make sure its accessible to everyone.

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I'm gonna give this a spin, not only for the visual impaired people, but also to see if what that'll do for the algorithm. As a huge added bonus, this makes me re-think some of my captions for everybody and tap into the 'Idea Nugget generator' section of Your Daily Dose and the STM Workshop.

You can find more information on that here



Are you in NYC during the PhotoPlus Expo?

We are conducting a 4-hour LIVE workshop in Midtown Manhattan on Friday, October 25th! 


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