We’ve been talking about it.
You’ve been asking for it.
We’ve been working on it.
Today, we launched it: the image description reminder!
It’s live to 10% of global Twitter across Android, iOS, and Web. ? (1 of 6) pic.twitter.com/AAdnwNZHDo
— Twitter Accessibility (@TwitterA11y) July 13, 2022
Months ago, Twitter introduced the ALT badge or image description on its platform. Now that its access is available to everyone, Twitter wants you to start using it. With this, the blue bird app launched a test to 10% of its global users across Android, iOS, and the Web that will remind them to use the feature.
After Twitter established its own accessibility team in 2020, we saw constant improvements in the platform. The ALT badge is one of them. For the uninitiated, these image descriptions, well, provide image descriptions about posts. Basically, they should help you know what the picture in the post contains when the image itself is unable to appear. However, in terms of accessibility, it is meant to aid users with low vision or visual impairments when using screen readers. With this feature, Twitter users can simply click the ALT badge at the image’s bottom corner. It can also be used to explain the context of the post, making it incredibly handy for everyone.
The addition of the reminder feature, according to Twitter, is aimed at making the platform accessible to everyone. “If you forget to add image descriptions, turning on the reminder will be a big favor to your future self,” the social media giant tweets. “And to everyone on Twitter. Actually, if everyone turns it on, everyone would be helping everyone. We want it to be easy for folks to make their Tweets accessible. Image descriptions are a simple way to expand info access to people with disabilities, and everyone who wants more context.”
The reminder will be optional even for the test group involved. It can be activated by going to the account’s settings, then to the Accessibility section and “Images” header. Once turned on, a prompt will always show to remind you to add image descriptions when posting images.
On the other hand, while the concept and overall intention for the creation of ALT badges are good, Twitter addressed the issue of how its users think of it. Though many are using it for the right reasons, some tend to use the feature to indicate the subliminal messages implied by their posts.
“There’s a debate about whether bad, or inaccurate, image descriptions are better than having no descriptions at all,” says Twitter. “Our recommendation is to always write great image descriptions.”