Twitter has moved to make it easier for people with visual impairments to access and understand images uploaded to the platform.
Users of the iOS and Android Twitter apps can add descriptions — also known as alternative text (alt text) — to images in Tweets.
Using up to 420 characters, people can provide details of the image they are tweeting. The description can then be accessed by the visually impaired and be read like any other text post using their assistive technology.
Last year, research by Twitter showed that tweets with photos drive 313% higher engagement. However, Twitter’s visually impaired users have had to make do with third-party workarounds like EasyChirp and Alt Text Bot for alternative text.
In a blog post announcing the move Twitter said: “With this update, we’re empowering everyone to ensure content shared on Twitter is accessible to the widest possible audience.
“The feature can be enabled by using the compose image descriptions option in the Twitter app’s accessibility settings. The next time you add an image to a Tweet, each thumbnail in the composer will have an add description button. Tap it to add a description to the image. People who are visually impaired will have access to the description via their assistive technology (e.g., screen readers and braille displays).”
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