Instagram Just Added 2 Features to Aid the Visually Impaired

Automatic alternative text and custom alternative text provide richer descriptions

Alternative text for visually impaired users Instagram
Headshot of David Cohen

Instagram is considered the most visual among the social platforms, but that doesn’t mean it’s ignoring the visually impaired.

The Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network detailed two accessibility updates in a blog post Wednesday, aimed at helping the 285 million-plus people in the world who are visually impaired.

Instagram is introducing automatic alternative text, enabling the visually impaired to hear descriptions of photos on its feed, profiles and its Explore tab through their existing screen readers.

The new feature uses object-recognition technology to generate those descriptions, and users of screen readers will be able to hear a list of items that may be contained in photos they encounter while browsing the Instagram application.

Instagram also said it is rolling out the ability for people to add custom alternative text to descriptions of their photos, providing richer descriptions for visually impaired people using screen readers. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.