Twitter rolls out its ALT badge and improved image descriptions

Twitter said Thursday that its ALT badge and enhanced image descriptions are now available globally, accessibility features that will make alt text descriptions more prominent for all users. Images with text descriptions will have a badge that says ‘alt’ and clicking on the badge will bring up the description. Twitter first announced changes last month.

“As promised, the ALT badge and descriptions of exposed images are going global today,” reads a tweet from Twitter’s Accessibility account. “Over the past month, we’ve been fixing bugs and collecting feedback from the limited release group. We are ready. You are done. Let’s describe our images!”

Twitter has provided step-by-step instructions for: how to add the image descriptions in a blog post

  • After uploading an image to a tweet, select Add description below the image
  • Enter a description of the image in the text box. The number of characters is in the corner of the box; you have 1,000 characters available
  • Click Save and an ALT badge will appear in the corner of the image
  • Tweet. When someone clicks on the ALT badge, the description should appear on the screen

Before Thursday’s change, most users didn’t necessarily have access to alternate text descriptions unless they were using screen readers. Twitter first introduced image descriptions in 2016, but it can be difficult to find where and how to add them. The company didn’t have a dedicated accessibility team until late 2020, with employees willing to volunteer for accessibility issues.

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