Image Tweets Can Now Have Descriptions With 420 Characters

March 29, 2016 - Written By Justin Diaz

Twitter has been doing all that they can to increase growth and restore their user interaction and engagement, and today part of that strategy comes in the form of making images within tweets more accessible to those who are visually impaired. Twitter in a blog statement today has noted that images posted within tweets are a big part of the experience on the social platform, and they want as wide of an audience as possible to have the capability to experience those images. To do that, Twitter is adding the ability for their users to add fairly lengthy descriptions to their tweets when posting a new image to their timeline, but that’s just the start of it.

These new image description sections can have up to 420 characters in total, which is much more than the standard 140 character limit that’s imposed upon the contents of a regular tweet. To insert one of these descriptions (also being referred to as “alternative text”), users simply need to tap on the “add description” button that will be sitting in the bottom left hand corner of the image, but not before enabling the ability to add descriptions so that the button will actually appear. To enable descriptions, users need to navigate to the settings within the application, head to accessibility settings, and toggle the “compose image description” option that’s shown in the menu.

With these descriptions in place, visually impaired users on Twitter will be able to access the longer chunks of text meant to describe the image to the user who isn’t able to view it, thanks also in part to the assistive technology like screen readers that are integrated into smartphone devices these days. Twitter also mentions they have made it possible for publishers and third-party twitter clients to add descriptions as well, including clients like Chicken Nugget, The Qube, and EasyChirp, all of which are designed for visually impaired users. The add description function in Twitter is available starting today in the mobile apps for both Android devices as well as devices running on iOS, and users should notice the ability to turn this function on from this point forward.

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