3 Ways To Make Instagram More Accessible

How can we make Instagram more accessible?

At the end of last year, Instagram introduced some new improvements to make the network easier to use for people with visual impairments.

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. First, we’re introducing automatic alternative text so you can hear descriptions of photos through your screen reader when you use Feed, Explore and Profile. This feature uses object recognition technology to generate a description of photos for screen readers so you can hear a list of items that photos may contain as you browse the app.

Next, we’re introducing custom alternative text so you can add a richer description of your photos when you upload a photo. People using screen readers will be able to hear this description. – Instagram Press

This is a really positive move from Instagram. We also learned more about making Instagram accessible recently ourselves and wanted to share 3 actions you can take, as recommended by the RNIB to make your beautiful Instagram feeds accessible to blind or partially sighted people.

1. Add Image Descriptions

By adding alternative text to your images, the descriptions can be read by a screen reader for a person who is blind or partially sighted.Four images showing the process for adding custom alternative text. First image: the "New Post" screen showing a photo with the caption "Spent the day exploring 'flower emoji' 'flower emoji' 'tree emoji'" and displaying the "Advanced Settings" button on the bottom. Second image: the "Advanced Settings" screen with the "Write Alt Text" button in the middle. Third image: the "Alt Text" screen with text that says "A hiking trail lined with sunflowers on a beautiful day." Fourth image: the hiking trail photo posted in Feed.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Click on ‘Advanced settings’
  2. Select ‘Accessibility’
  3. Select ‘Write alt text’
  4. Enter your text that describes the image you are uploading

Simple!

It doesn’t have to be a very detailed description of the picture, but enough to ensure someone can appreciate the photo.

2. Use CamelCase in hashtags

Yes, hashtags can be made more accessible too for blind or partially sighted people.

Ever heard of CamelCase? No? Well here’s what it means.

Camel case is the practice of capitalising the first letter of each word in a series and then removing spaces, numbers, underscores, hyphens, and other special characters.

3. Don’t go overboard with emojis

Not using too many emojis is a good rule of thumb in any case… but important to consider in terms of text-to-speech readers which read emojis out loud.

No-one wants to hear “Smiling Face With Open Mouth And Smiling Eyes” five times! 😄

So here are our 3 tips for making Instagram more accessible. I hope you’ll join us in adopting all 3.

Join the conversation on our Instagram post or find out more about making social media more accessible in this RNIB article.


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