Social Media Helping Visually Impaired by Improving Accessibility

According to Prevent Blindness America, Over 50 million Americans aged 50 or above have some form of visual impairment and more than 15% of those are legally blind. Instead of visual impairments, many people use the Internet daily.

Social media accessibility is important in all facets of your business. Social media is becoming highly important whether it be for advertising, promotions or contacting with family and friends. The same is true for individuals who are visually impaired.

Using Facebook was a challenge at first for visually impaired users. Whenever a friend tagged a user in a photo, he/she has no clue what the photo shows. Now Facebook has solved this problem using artificial intelligence and modern technology to create new tools that describe items in a photo and allows visually impaired users to ask what’s in a photo.

Social media is becoming popular and visual with a number of photos and videos. These can be easily accessible today by blind and the visually impaired users to know what their friends and family are posting. Approx 2 billion photos are shared everyday on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp and over 8 billion video views are noticed daily on these social media platforms.

Social media is helping visually impaired users by improving its accessibility. We have compiled detailed information about how social media platform is now easily accessible for social media users.

Recently, Facebook introduced a tool i.e. automatic alternative text, which allows blind or visually impaired users to hear descriptions of the images deeply through a screen reader on an iOS device.

Facebook has also joined Twitter in making its website more accessible to the visually impaired users. It not only increases the number of potential users for both sites but also puts them ahead of a prospective government authorization.

Twitter also introduced an alternative text feature for images. With “choose image description” option for the twitter app, users can add up to 420 characters for the photo’s description.

Over 2 billion images are shared on social media i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp. It’s no secret that over 20 million Americans are living with vision loss in the present time.

Earlier, Facebook users could hear only their friend’s name that was in a photo, but using automatic alternative text option, they can hear how many people are in the photo, how many comments and likes they have and the number of words that a photo may include.

It is also informed that Facebook worked with Cornell University to understand the process of visually impaired users’ interaction with social media. Social media Braille translations are available only in English for iOS users in the Australia, Canada, U.S, U.K and New Zealand. But Facebook is working for the availability of more countries and languages that will be valuable for visually impaired users.