Although social media has become a lot more accessible than it once was for the visually impaired, Instagram still has a lot of work to do.
People with visual impairments are still using the app, however there are many things they are still waiting for from it. And now, it seems as though things are about to change.
Since 2016, Facebook has offered an artificial intelligence tool that is capable of describing photos using a special object recognition technology. Facebook, which owns Instagram, has recently announced that they will be sharing this feature with Instagram as well.
The object recognition feature provides a list of items that may be included in the photo. These items are read out loud to the user. Instagram has also revealed that another feature will be added in order to increase accessibility, which will allow them to use richer descriptions. At the moment, those who are visually impaired do not have a way to use alternative text.
If there is no alternative text, then Instagram will by default use the object recognition feature. It is a huge step that a platform such as Instagram is making steps towards a more accessible system, however whether or not the artificial intelligence will be able to read memes is still unsure.