Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) announced on Tuesday the addition of a new option to its user’s shared images. The new feature consists in adding a description or alternative text to images in tweets to provide visually impaired users a wider approach to the visual moments via their assisting devices.
The micro-blogging service assured that the accessibility of visually impaired people to their images is part of the Twitter experience, which should be available to everyone including those who have troubles to experience the total image.
“Starting today, people using our iOS and Android apps can add descriptions, also known as alternative text (alt text), to images in Tweets,” Todd Kloots, Staff Engineer in Twitter, wrote in a blog post. “With this update, we are empowering everyone to ensure content shared on Twitter is accessible to the widest possible audience,” he added.
The feature needs to be enabled, which the company explained it can be done by using the compose image description option in the Twitter app’s accessibility settings. When the first step is done, the app will enable the function so each time the user pretends to post an image it will show an add description button.
With the function, visually impaired people will have the option to access already written description via their assistive technology devices, screen readers and braille displays. The description will have maximum 420 characters.
The description button was also extended to Twitter’s third-party clients, REST API and Twitter Cards. It was considered by Twitter as an important asset for specialized Twitter clients for the visually impaired such as EasyChirp, Chicken Nugget and The Qube.
A move for inclusion
Research has proven that tweets with photos drive 313 percent higher engagement than those without, as reported by the Verge. The move to include descriptions of images is being considered as an inclusion one for the visually impaired users who used to rely on the third-party workarounds already mentioned.
The company simplified the workaround by making it a shortcut to the text on images. The feature does not only help with accessibility issues but also improves search engines functionality to identify specific tweets, Venture Beat reported.