Facebook originally launched the automatic alt-text feature aimed at improving accessibility of its website in 2016. The feature makes it easier for the blind and visually impaired to use Facebook by generating a description of a photo by utilizing object recognition technology and now the same accessibility feature might soon become available on Instagram.
My Smart Price did a teardown of the latest Instagram APK and discovered strings that point to the automatic alt-text (AAT) feature. This clearly suggests that the accessibility feature is likely to be added in a future version of the Instagram app.
Users will need to open the Instagram app using a screen reader and focus on the image. Once the objects are identified, they will hear a list of items that the photo may contain. Alternatively, they might hear the caption added by the person who uploaded the photo. By adding the automatic alt-text feature, Instagram will be able to provide a more inclusive experience. No word on how long it might take for Instagram to begin rolling out the automatic alt-text feature for both Android and iOS platforms.
While the alt-text tool will make it a lot easier for visually impaired people to use the Instagram app, Facebook is currently working on further enhancing accessibility by developing an automatic alt-text tool for videos. In the near future, the alt-text tool for videos will be able to describe certain kinds of videos on the Facebook app. Similar to the alt-text feature for photos, we can expect the alt-text tool for videos to make its way to the Instagram app eventually.