Easing the use of social media for the visually impaired, Instagram has rolled out a new feature in which AI will describe the photos and descriptions for them.
Social media site Instagram announced its new feature yesterday, which is aimed at making the app easier to use for people with visual impairments, with the help of artificial intelligence.
The feature will allow screen readers, software that describes the elements displayed on a screen, to describe pictures, either automatically via AI or by reading custom descriptions, called ‘alternative text’ (alt text), added by users.
Users will be able to enter their own photo descriptions so that people using screen readers can hear it read aloud as they browse their Instagram feed, Explore page, or a profile. If there is no description, Instagram will automatically detect what’s in the picture with the help of object recognition technology. It will then read its automated description of the picture aloud when someone scrolls by.
However, as per The Verge, the alternative text descriptions won’t be visible, and users will have to go into the picture’s ‘advanced settings’ to include one. The feature is accessible for people using screen readers.
Though the feature is the first one for Instagram, it has been available in parent company Facebook for years where AI describes photos for blind users. “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,” wrote Instagram.