Explained: Twitter Alt Text and how it can help users

Twitter, in an attempt to make the social media platform more accessible for all users, shared its plans to introduce the transcription feature in September 2020. The company wanted to add both audio and video transcriptions (for photos and videos) to make the micro-blogging site more accessible for users who are visually impaired or are challenged with hearing disabilities.

Initially, Twitter started testing its captions for voice Tweets in July 2021, now, the company has rolled out this accessibility feature for all users.

This feature also adds a new image description reminder that will encourage Twitter users to contribute by adding details about the images that can help visually impaired users to understand the uploaded picture.
What is Twitter Alt Text?
Digital image descriptions or Alt Text is an opt-in accessibility feature on Twitter that asks users to add a description while adding a photo to their tweets. The feature has been rolled out globally for all platforms (web and mobile) and might be made default in the upcoming days.

Currently, users can enable the feature from the accessibility option in the Settings and privacy menu. Once enabled, this new image description reminder feature will ask users to add alt text to every image they upload and share on Twitter.
Importance of Alt Text
This feature is designed for users who are blind or have low vision and image descriptions can help them to improve their social media experience. The company even mentioned that this feature is not only important for users with screen readers but can also help people who live in low-bandwidth areas and the ones with feature phones.
Twitter has also asked users to keep the alt texts more focused and has mentioned: “capture what’s important, be succinct, and be objective.” The company has also provided some examples of how to write apt image descriptions.

Photos that have been uploaded with alt text will appear with an “ALT badge” in the lower left corner to identify content that includes image descriptions. Twitter even translates the alt text into different languages for users from around the world to benefit from this feature.
Other accessibility features recently rolled out by Twitter include — the closed caption feature. Earlier, in June, the company added the closed caption toggle for all iOS and Android users. Tapping the “CC” button (on videos with available captions) will enable users to see captions for audio conversations on Spaces and Voice Tweets. This feature is helpful for users with hearing disabilities.

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