We’re making images on Twitter more accessible. Here’s how

Monday, 19 September 2022

Not everyone experiences Twitter in the same way. For those who are blind or have low vision, image descriptions are an important tool for clarifying and enriching their experience. 

That’s why we’re rolling out a new image description reminder to encourage more people on Twitter to add helpful descriptions to the images they Tweet. 

Here’s how it works — and why it’s important.

Activating Twitter’s new image description reminder

Whenever you add a photo to a Tweet, you have the option to describe it using alt text, also known as a digital image description. Our new image description reminder is a feature that prompts you to make a good habit of adding alt text to every image you upload and share on Twitter.

Once enabled, the feature sends you a prompt on web and mobile reminding you to add alt text whenever you’re about to Tweet an image.

We’re rolling out our new image description reminder globally, and most people on Twitter have access to it already (those who don’t will have it very soon). To activate it, open the main menu and select:

Settings and privacy > Accessibility, display, and languages > Accessibility > Receive image description reminder

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Why is it important to add image descriptions? 

Adding descriptions to an image helps create a more inclusive experience for everyone on Twitter. The descriptions are useful not only to people using screen readers, but to those in low-bandwidth areas, those with web phones, and anyone who wants to learn more about an image. 

Image descriptions help describe the image to people who aren’t able to view it, so it’s important to keep the text focused: capture what’s important, be succinct, and be objective. For example, if you’re Tweeting a photo of your favorite beach, you can write: 

“An empty beach at sunset with red, orange, purple, and blue colors in a cloudless sky. Palm trees are visible in the foreground.”

You can read more about how to write great image descriptions.

Photos with descriptions appear with an ALT badge in the lower left corner, making it clear that additional descriptive text is available for the image. Similar to Tweet text translations, Twitter translates image descriptions to allow people from around the world to benefit from image descriptions.

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Improving accessibility at Twitter

Our new image description reminder is part of our continuing efforts to make the public conversation more accessible to everyone. Other work we’ve done recently includes adding an ALT badge, a Closed Captions toggle button, and captions for audio conversations on Spaces and Voice Tweets.

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This work is made possible by our Accessibility Experience Team that works within our product organization on new and existing features and products, providing resources and tools that promote greater accessibility on Twitter. 

In addition to the Accessibility Experience Team, Twitter has also created an Accessibility Center for Excellence whose role it is to consult and partner with teams across the company to ensure that everything from our legal and policy standards to our marketing strategies and office spaces are more accessible.

You can learn more about how we’re making Twitter more accessible by following @TwitterA11y, or Tweet your first image using an image description.

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