Instagram is known for their innovative features and making the effort to help millions of additional users enjoy improved accessibility to the app’s worldwide community. On November 28th Instagram announced that they were going to be introducing two new features, automatic alternative text (text to speech) and custom alternative text. These new features are going to make the social site much more accessible, especially for its approximately 285 million users that are visually impaired.

Why Accessibility is So Important

With just about everything being on the web, it is crucial for your online presence be accessible to all consumers in an effort to provide equal accessibility, opportunity, and an excellent user experience to your entire target audience. In addition, accessibility is all about inclusion. As a brand, it’s important to provide the best user experience for your audience if you want to get Instagram followers, regardless of their personal situations or demographics.

Alternative Text

Although alternative text (alt text) is already common feature online, it is the first time that Instagram is presenting the feature. As reported by an Instagram blog post, they are going to automatically assign alternative text descriptions to images that can then be listened to by using a screen reader while exploring your feed, profile or Explore page.

Object Recognition Technology

Instagram uses object recognition technology to determine what’s in the image, and then the description will be read out loud using the screen reader as the user scrolls past the image.

Creating Access to Alternative Text Descriptions

Alternate text descriptions will not be observable on the posts, and you will need to go into the “Advanced Settings” section at the bottom of the screen to facilitate access to them.  Once this has been completed, your followers will be able to use their screen readers to hear the description.

Using Custom Alternative Text

With custom alternative text, you can add your own, more in depth description when you are uploading a photo. This makes it possible for businesses to make sure that screen readers have easy access to the exact message and/or information they want to get across. Go to the “Advanced Settings” prior to posting to use the custom alternative text option.

Getting Started with Alternative Text on Instagram

Using Instagram’s new alternative text feature will help you make your images more accessible to your target market and gain real Instagram followers from a wider audience. To get started with Instagram’s new alternative text feature, the social media platform recommends heading to their help center. Visit https://help.instagram.com/503708446705527.

This is an excellent move by Instagram that paves the way for millions of new users to make use of the site, offering a great user experience. The alternative text features also give brands and marketers the chance to grow their audience too. The company notes that more accessibility features are on the way and we’re all looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.

Categories: Social media

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