[NFBWATlk] How to use Twitter's new and improved alt text tools

Merribeth Greenberg merribeth.manning at gmail.com
Tue Apr 26 18:14:28 UTC 2022

I do not Tweet but thought this might be useful to those that do.

How to use Twitter's new and improved alt text tools
It's not perfect, but it's a huge step forward.
By Chase DiBenedetto <https://mashable.com/author/chase-dibenedetto>  on April
8, 2022

Twitter has addressed a long-awaited accessibility fix this week with its
new and improved alternative text tools for users with and without

The rollout hopes to make it more obvious to all users that accessible
image descriptions are present
including an automatic, public badge on all tweets containing images with
alt text — you'll now see a small black icon with the acronym "ALT" in the
bottom left corner of an image. After tapping on the badge, users can view
exposed image descriptions that can be read without the use of a screen
reader, the tried and true "inspect element," or other adaptive tools.

Previously, it wasn't clear if an image had alt text on the user-facing
side of the website, only visible to users of assistive tools. The change
makes it so everyone can see descriptions, which means more people are able
to engage with the millions of images and GIF's posted to Twitter. It'll
hopefully encourage more people make their own profiles accessible, as well.

Twitter announced that it was working on the feature in early March
using the last month to beta test the tools with select users. The official
update rolled out globally on April 7. Users have asked for better image
descriptions for years
the social media company added alt text for website images in 2016
and TweetDeck
in 2018 <https://9to5mac.com/2018/07/03/tweetdeck-image-descriptions/>, and
it's slowly improved other accessibility features since, eventually
creating a dedicated accessibility team in 2020
<https://help.twitter.com/en/using-twitter/accessibility-features>. Alt
text joins other Twitter accessibility features
<https://help.twitter.com/en/resources/accessibility> like live automated
captions for videos and voice tweets, as well as visual settings like high
contrast and font size.

According to the feature's initial announcement
Twitter is also working on an automatic reminder for app users. "Adding
image descriptions allows people who are blind, have low vision, use
assistive tech, live in low-bandwidth areas, or have a cognitive
disability, to fully contribute on Twitter," the company tweeted. "We know
these features have been a long time coming, and we're grateful for your
How to use the new features

The alt text badge and public descriptions are automatically available to
users, so you don't need to do anything to your account to interact with
the new tools — just make sure your app is up-to-date.

There is one barrier to usability: individual users have to have the due
diligence to add alt text to every post with an image or GIF they make.
Adding image or GIF descriptions to your own tweets

First, click the compose tweet button and draft your post with your
preferred media, whether that's an image or a GIF (videos posted to Twitter
are currently auto-captioned

For mobile users: Once added, click on the small, black circle in the
bottom right corner with the "ALT" tag.

For desktop users: Select "Add Description" below the image. Or, click on
the "Edit" button on the bottom right of the photo, and then go to the "alt
text" section.

Twitter adds updated alt text feature in new accessibility upgrade

Beth Greenberg

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