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Giphy is adding alt text to make GIFs more accessible

More people will be able to understand what's happening in GIFs.
Giphy logo displayed on a phone screen and Giphy website displayed on a laptop screen are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on November 29, 2021 (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images
Kris Holt
Kris Holt|@krisholt|December 6, 2022 1:49 PM

Giphy is looking to improve accessibility and help more people understand what the platform's GIFs are depicting with the help of alt text descriptions. It has teamed up with a content accessibility solutions provider called Scribely to add descriptive text to the platform's content. Screen readers will be able to read the alt text aloud, which will help visually impaired folks to know what's happening in a GIF.

The alt text won't be automatically generated. Giphy says Scribely's writers "are well-versed in accessibility guidelines and write effective and engaging descriptions that take the message and the meaning in mind." Giphy's most popular content, based on the top search terms, now includes alt text. The company plans to add alt text to more of its GIFs.

Screen readers can now read aloud alt text from GIFs on Giphy's web and mobile apps. The company is also making alt text available through its APIs. So third-party companies with Giphy integration can let their users access the alt text on other platforms.

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In 2020, Twitter enabled users to add alt text to GIFs. However, if the company, which has a partnership with Giphy, employs the latest feature of the latter's APIs, Twitter users would be able to access professionally written alt text in GIFs.

“GIFs are an important part of our daily lives, thanks to their unique ability to convey ideas, emotions, and humor in ways that static images often can’t. These looping videos move us to moments of joy and happiness," Scribely founder and CEO Caroline Desrosiers said. "But without alt text, the moment is lost and excludes millions. That’s why this project with Giphy is so monumental and necessary.”

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Giphy is adding alt text to make GIFs more accessible