Twitter has begun testing two new features the company promises will improve the alt text experience on its platform. The company said it would spend about a month trialing the features, which add easy-to-access descriptions to images, before rolling them out globally at the start of April. As Twitter notes, adding a description or “alt text” to an image allows people with low vision or a cognitive disability to “fully contribute” to the platform. They’re also useful if you don’t have the fastest internet connection.
We've gotten a lot of feedback about how to improve the image description (or alt text) experience on Twitter. Today, we're launching 2 features to 3% of Twitter across Android, iOS, and Web: the public ALT badge and exposed image descriptions. 🧵 (1 of 6) pic.twitter.com/HCYzIYEdal— Twitter Accessibility (@TwitterA11y) March 9, 2022
If you have access to the test, you can add alt text to an image by tapping the “Add description” button that appears after you upload a picture. As a rule of thumb, you want to be concise but descriptive when writing alt tags. You’ll then see an “alt” badge appear at the bottom left corner of the image you can tap to read the description. Twitted noted it's also working on a feature that will remind people to add descriptions to images, and said it would have more to share about that functionality "soon."
Comprehensive support for alt tags shows just how much Twitter has come along on the accessibility front. In 2020, the company famously a voice note feature that didn’t come with accessibility tools like closed captioning. The company eventually apologized for its actions and went on to establish two . “We know these features have been a long time coming,” the company said Wednesday, alluding to that history. “We’re grateful for your patience.”