Facebook Alternative Text On Mobile Screens

ICYMI: Facebook Releases AI-Driven Alternative Text for Visually Impaired

With it's new Automatic Alternative Text, Facebook is giving millions of blind web users a way to engage with it's image content. The new feature is AI driven meaning users don't have to do anything, but keep sharing. Yet a lot more people will be able to enjoy each new pic.



April 14, 2016


Facebook launched an AI-driven application called Automatic Alternative Text, making it possible for visually-impaired users to discover the contents of images being shared on the network.

Watch the video to the right to learn more about Facebook’s latest innovation.

With users sharing ~350 million photos per day, it makes sense that Facebook would want to enrich the experience for it’s blind users and those with limited vision.

The new tool uses image recognition software and AI to automatically identify the contents of a photo and describe it to users with words.

Alternative text has been around for years and screen readers like NVDA and JAWS already use it to share image information, but Facebook’s new app is a breakthrough because it automates the text creation process and makes billions of images accessible in one fell swoop.

In marketing, we normally talk about alternative (alt) text as part of optimizing images for SEO. With Facebook’s move, I hope that more people start thinking about the value of making the web more accessible to everyone regardless of the commercial value.

Visit the governments accessibility site, Section508.gov to learn more about alt text and other ways to make your website more accessible.

I’d also suggest watching the video below showing people’s reactions to the new tool. It will make your day.

Feature image: Facebook

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