Twitter Rolls Out Two Important Accessibility Enhancements that will surely catch your interest. Every day, millions of people make use of the internet every day, including those who spend most of their waking hours on social media. This might come as a surprise to some, but not all of these users get to see images or read text easily.
People who have visual impairments often rely on accessibility features that are, unfortunately, sometimes non-existent or terribly unusable on some platforms.
Twitter Rolls Out Two Important Accessibility Enhancements
One major culprit is the humble image, it makes use of a certain amount of vision to adequately perceive. The text description in the ideal world comes with all images so that we can all benefit from them, but it is not all the platforms that make it a lot easier to add this type of text. Social networks are notoriously bad when it comes to this type of text. Social networks can get really bad when it comes to this sort of accessibility feature, but Twitter is finally taking a major step that would make it platform more accessible to everybody, which includes those who might not be able to see what is going n in their timelines.
ALT, short for “alternative text,” have been existing for quite a long time now, and it was a way to use a piece of text to describe an image and was primarily designed to serve as a placeholder in case an image failed to load or if a web browser does not offer support for displaying images at all. This capability would eventually become a critical accessibility feature that screen readers get to speak the description of an image for users that are visually impaired.
Although it is a great practice to offer ALT text for images that you upload to a page or a social network, it is not that easy for you to do that, especially when the platform does not make such a feature readily apparent. Twitter at the moment has rolled two major enhancements that are related to this, starting with a prominent “ALT” badge in the corner of images that would carry text descriptions. Clicking or tapping on this badge would trigger a description popup, which can be used by screen readers or simply offer some additional details concerning an image.
Where to Add Image Description on Twitter
Also, Twitter is making it a lot easier to add description photos. Although it has been quite possible to add descriptive text on Twitter ever since 2016, the feature was an easy-to-miss feature. Now, we see a very visible “Add description” Button and an “+ALT” badge on mobile in other to call your attention to that simple and useful action.
Interestingly, you get to add up to about 1,000 characters for just one image description – far more than you get to publish in a regular tweet. It is not quite hard to imagine some users take advantage of this freedom to go beyond the platform’s 280-character limit, but one should be mindful of what ALT was Designed for, to begin with. Nobody would want to listen to 1,000 character ramble barely related to the photo that it is describing, especially when it is voiced out by a reader on the screen.