Twitter adds image descriptions to make pictures accessible to the visually impaired
Twitter’s alt text feature provides image support to the visually impairedTwitter

Twitter has added image descriptions, in efforts to make pictures more accessible to the visually impaired. The additional image and text support has been launched for both iOS as well as Android users.

The feature has also be made available to publishers and developers, in efforts to improve relations with developers across the globe. The tech giant has also extended the feature by updating Twitter API and Twitter Cards. The feature, called alternative text (alt text), according to the social media giant, was developed in order to ensure that images become "accessible to everyone".

Twitter engineer Todd Kloots said in a company blog post: "Starting today, people using our iOS and Android apps can add descriptions — also known as alternative text (alt text) — to images in Tweets. With this update, we're empowering everyone to ensure content shared on Twitter is accessible to the widest possible audience. As a core part of the Twitter experience, it's important that images shared on our platform are accessible to everyone, including those who are visually impaired."

Users can activate this feature by going into the Twitter app's accessibility settings and switching on the "compose image descriptions" option. Once activated, users will be able to add a text description to every image that they tweet via the "add description" button. Twitter has designed the feature such that users can use up to 420 characters when adding descriptions. Visually impaired Twitter users will then be able to access the description via their smartphone's assistive technology.

Twitter also highlighted the vitality of the feature by explaining that some of its clients like Easy Chirp, Chicken Nugget and The Qube – all of whom provide specialised services to the visually impaired, will undoubtedly make good use of the text description feature while posting images on Twitter.

Although it is uncertain as to whether average Twitter users will take the time out to add descriptions to their images, the feature is sure to come in handy to developers, publishers and perhaps even celebrities.