Twitter Is For The Visually Impaired Too
The news that Twitter is integrating a feature to help the visually challenged know what's in an image, was welcomed online enthusiastically
Photo Credit : Reuters
To do something special for those with eyesight challenges shows, I think, that a company has a soul. The news that Twitter is integrating a feature to help the visually challenged know what's in an image, was welcomed online enthusiastically.
The new feature allows iOS and Android users to write a description of an image they are posting -- hopefully a rich description. Say, beautiful red evening sky with streaks of golden clouds over a deep blue sea. Or maybe 'Virat Kohli points up at the sky, thanking God for the thrilling victory.'
Why this is a big deal is because it's been seen for long now that any post with a visual is more highly read than just plain text. By not being able to know what's in thousands of visual posts, anyone with a visual impairment is just left out of a huge chunk of Twitter. And it's true of other social networks as well, or any content site.
Users can put in their description, for which the maximum characters limit is way more than the 140 for a regular tweet. They can take up to 420 characters for the descriptive information. Once it's there, screen readers and other assistive technologies can pick it up and make it accessible to the user.
What would have been much better, of course, is for Twitter to include screen reading within its own app or at least make it easier to seamlessly link to a service that does this. Devices themselves however are often equipped with read-aloud capabilities via their own accessibility features. Magnifiers and text enlargers are also available. But how inclusive and considerate it would be to have apps like Twitter integrate such features.