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Instagram’s Latest Update Offers New Text To Speech, Along With Greater Accessibility

Written by Bre Avery and Caroline Carpenter

Instagram is about to make itself a lot more accessible! Their latest feature will also make you love them a whole lot more than you already do. Promise.

After recently revealing that the app has 1 billion users, Instagram is taking a page from their parent company – Facebook. The app is introducing a new feature that is geared towards those with visual impairments. Instagram’s text to speech feature is similar to Facebook’s Al. It helps people better connect on the app. We love this level of inclusivity.

Basically what Instagram revealed is that it’s building an “automatic alternative text” into its platform. By doing this, Instagram is making itself more accessible to the 285 million people who use the app that are visually impaired. While this “alt text” is common around more places on the internet, this is the first time that Instagram will have this feature.

According to Instagram themselves, they will be “automatically assigning alternative text descriptions to images, which can be heard through a screen reader while browsing your feed, Explore page, and your profile.”

Perhaps, the coolest part is Instagram’s use of object recognition technology – it determines what the image is, and then reads it out loud as the user scrolls past it. Pretty neat, huh?

The alternate text descriptions won’t be on all instagram posts though. In order to turn it on, you’ll have to go into “advanced settings to enable access to them.” Once you’re in the advanced settings you also “have the option to your own customized description on your images when you upload them.”

Instagram’s decision to do this will only make them more popular and user-friendly. While you’re scrolling through the app you don’t even think about what it’s like not to be able to see the pictures – luckily Instagram board members have.