Instagram is one of the most popular social networks out there, but, for the visually impaired, the photo- and video-centric platform might not be all that accessible.
But the Facebook-owned Instagram wants to change that. The platform has officially announced two new features that will make Instagram a lot more accessible for the visually impaired. The two new features are similar in design, relying on what Instagram calls “alternative text”. The first part comes in automatic alternative text, which means a description of the photo will be read out loud automatically as the user travels through the Explore, Profile, and Feed pages.
This uses object recognition to “generate a description of photos for screen readers”, so as each section is browsed, the content is describing everything that’s on the screen. This relies on artificial intelligence to handle this specific method.
The other option is custom alternative text, which is handled by the person uploading the photo to the platform. The uploader will be able to add far more content regarding their photo, describing it in detail, which will then be able to be read out loud for the visually impaired to enjoy the image’s details.
Instagram says the features are rolling out now, and that these are just “the first steps” in building a more accessible platform in general. There is no word on what additional features are coming down the pipe, however.
The social network has been making some noteworthy changes as of late. Most recently it was reported that the company was rearranging the profile page, aiming to make it easier to use. In addition to that, the platform is fighting back against “inauthentic behavior”, including fake likes and more.