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Facebook to describe photos in timeline for the visually impaired

tech Updated: Apr 05, 2016 11:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Facebook

Visually impaired, who uses the screen reader (Voice over) option can start the alternative text option that will explain what’s there in a picture and not just the text around it.

One thing that Facebook is and has been, very particular about is not alienating any users. Their latest feature aims to make it more user-friendly to someone who’s visually impaired. The app doesn’t just read out the updates like, “Ramesh updated his cover photo,” but also describes the photograph it was updated with.

The video demonstrates how the app works and how users feel after using it.

Today we’re proud to introduce automatic alternative text, a new feature that provides people who are visually impaired with descriptions of a photo’s content using advancements in object recognition technology. For more info, stop by Facebook Accessibility.

Posted by Facebook on Monday, April 4, 2016

So, anyone who uses the screen reader (Voice over) application can start using it because Facebook is now providing the alternative text to the images on iOS and Android.

“Today we’re introducing automatic alternative text. Automatic alternative text, or automatic alt text, is a new development that generates a description of a photo using advancements in object recognition technology,” Facebook explained in a blog post.

Further explaining, it said: “People using screen readers on iOS devices will hear a list of items a photo may contain as they swipe past photos on Facebook. Before today, people using screen readers would only hear the name of the person who shared the photo, followed by the term “photo” when they came upon an image in News Feed. Now we can offer a richer description of what’s in a photo thanks to automatic alt text. For instance, someone could now hear, “Image may contain three people, smiling, outdoors.”

Facebook’s machine leaning algorithms have made their artificial intelligence systems capable enought to let the object recognition technology generate alternative texts to the 2 billion photographs uploaded on Facebook’s networks.