Twitter updates image descriptions to improve accessibility

Twitter image descriptions

Public ALT badge and exposed image descriptions are the new features launched on Twitter on Android, iOS, and Web, addressing the feedback garnered on the requirement of improving accessibility on images.

Both features for alt text or image descriptions have only been launched for 3% of Twitter users, the platform will develop the features further, gather feedback and improve the tool before rolling it out with global availability.

Image descriptions or alt text improve the accessibility of images for people with no or low vision, users who use assistive technology, or the ones who live in the low-bandwidth areas. Such users would be able to access a description such as “Two people seated at a dining table” or “A white coffee mug” by clicking the “ALT” button.

To view the description, users can select the ALT badge and the description will open, and it can be closed by selecting the Dismiss button, escape key, or tapping any spot outside the box.

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How to add image descriptions:

  • After uploading an image to a Tweet, select Add description underneath the image
  • Enter a description of the image in the text box. In the corner of the text box is the character count, users have up to 1,000 characters available
  • Select Save. An ALT badge will appear in the corner of the image. (“ALT” is the abbreviation for alternative text, the technical name for image description)
  • Select Tweet. When someone selects the ALT badge, the image description appears on the screen

How to add image descriptions to multiple Tweets:

  • If more than one image is added to the Tweet, users will see arrows at the top of the dialog that allow navigating to each image to add the descriptions
  • Select Save. After image descriptions are added, they’ll see the ALT badge appear on the images that have a description. A note below the images that say “2 image descriptions” also confirms how many image descriptions have been added