Instagram has launched a new tool that will make it easier for people with visual impairments to hear texts describing the elements on a screen or photo. The newly launched feature will allow screen readers to describe photos, either automatically with the use of artificial intelligence, or by third-party description tools added by users.
“We’re introducing automatic alternative text so you can hear descriptions of photos through your screen reader when you use Feed, Explore and Profile. This feature uses object recognition technology to generate a description of photos for screen readers so you can hear a list of items that photos may contain as you browse the app,” Instagram said in a blog post.
In the absence of any description text, Instagram will automatically identify what it in a photo using object recognition technology. This will allow the texts in a photo to be read out aloud when a user is scrolling by.
More than 285 million people in the world have visual impairment, and Instagram said they could all benefit from this new tool, which changes the way texts in images were being read before now.
Instagram last week announced that it is testing new user profile layouts. The photo-sharing platform said via its press site that the test, which will be carried out over the next couple of weeks, may include rearranging features at the top of your profile. The proposed changes may affect icons, buttons, as well as the way tabs are currently being navigated. Perhaps, it has become imperative to alley all fears about your photo grids as nothing will happen to them.
The Facebook subsidiary said the changes will allow you to better express yourself, while emphasis will be more on how you connect with those you care about on your profile. In other words, Instagram will now prioritize users over follower count.
Instagram said the new layouts will be tested over the next couple of weeks, and more changes [if and when necessary] made based on feedback from users. What is so obvious is that changes are coming to your profile; what, however, is not certain at this moment is what will remain at the end of the tests.
The most noticeable of changes being made by Instagram is the follower count, which will no longer be at the top of your profile. As a matter of fact, the font is now smaller, emphasizing the fact that the picture-sharing app is no longer according it the priority attention it used to have.
Another visible change from the image above is the repositioning of the ‘Follow’ and ‘Message’ buttons—both are now placed side-by-side. You will now be able to see your followers when you tap on a user’s Following tab. IGTV, which was launched middle of this year, is likely to get its own tab. Other changes you may likely see at the end of the test period include the grid posts, and the tagged photos icon that are now written out, a Shop tab for business accounts, and a few others.