Instagram Adds News Option to Help Describe Photos to Users Who Suffer from Visual Impairments

New Instagram visual impairment help options are coming to the social platform, with the aim of improving experiences for some users…

Instagram has announced it’s adding new tools to help the visually impaired enjoy its content: 

“We are introducing two new improvements to make it easier for people with visual impairments to use Instagram. With more than 285 million people in the world who have visual impairments, we know there are many people who could benefit from a more accessible Instagram.”

The first is called “automatic alternative text” which gives visually impaired users an audio description. The other, called “custom alternative text,” gives people the option to add descriptions to content they upload.

Instagram Visual Impairment Photo Description Help Debuts

The technology is far from new. In fact, it’s commonly used in websites and on other social networks. (For instance, parent company Facebook has been using AI to describe pictures to the visually impaired for years now.)

People can now include their own photo descriptions to benefit others who use screen readers. These are software programs which describe what’s presented on a digital screen through audio. It works with the Explore page, in the feed, and on user profiles.

However, if there is no description posted by the user who uploaded the content, Instagram will use photo recognition technology. This produces audible descriptions for the visually impaired to access.

Ashley Lipman

Ashley Lipman is a super-connector with Outreachmama who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking.