How to use Twitter's new feature to make images more accessible for visually impaired people

Posted: 31/03/2016 | ,

Twitter is set to become more accessible for blind and visually impaired people with a useful new feature. 

The social networking company has added ‘alternative text' to photos, allowing users to add descriptions to non-text content like photos and diagrams in order to help visually impaired people to be involved in the post. 

Alternative text, or ‘alt text’, is now available to people using the iOS and Android Twitter Apps and will soon be rolled out on the web version of the site. 

Text descriptions will be only be visible to people using assistive technology like screen readers or Braille displays, the captions will be limited to 420 characters and cannot be added to GIFs or videos.

To enable ‘alt text’ on the Twitter app: 

Twitter for iOS

1. Go to your Settings by tapping the Me tab and then the gear icon 

2. Tap Accessibility.

3. Next to go to Compose image descriptions, drag the slider to turn the setting on or off.

Note: Some users may have to access the Accessibility menu through the Display and Sound menu.

How to add image descriptions in Tweets from Twitter for iOS 

1. Start by tapping the Tweet icon and attach your photo(s).

2. On the image, tap Add description to insert descriptive text.

3. Type your description of the image and tap Apply. Tap the description again to edit it prior to posting the Tweet. (The limit is 420 characters.)

4. You can add a description to each image in a Tweet.

Phone snap shots displaying the three steps of writing alternative text on Twitter

Twitter for Android

How to enable the composition of image descriptions from Twitter for Android

1. Go to your Settings by tapping the overflow icon  

2. Tap Accessibility.

3. Next to Compose image description, tick the box to turn the setting on or off.

How to add image descriptions in Tweets from Twitter for Android

1. Start by tapping the Tweet icon   and attach your photo(s).

Note: For detailed instructions about adding photos to your Tweets, read this article.

2. On the image, tap Add description to insert descriptive text.

3. Type your description of the image and tap Apply. Tap the description again to edit it prior to posting the Tweet. (The limit is 420 characters.)

4. You can add a description to each image in a Tweet.

Twitter is still in the process of updating the feature but it is hoped that soon nearly everybody will be able to include alt text on their image posts. 

For further information see Twitter’s guide to alternative text and other ways of making your tweets more accessible. 

 
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