This one little change to your tweets will make a huge difference to blind Twitter users

A blind Twitter user who asked people on the social media platform to make a slight change to their settings to enrich his experience online has received an overwhelming response.

Veteran Rob Long wrote a Twitter thread explaining how – and why – people should turn on a feature called “caption description”.

The change won’t just benefit him but thousands of blind people who use Twitter with text-to-speech translators.

His initial tweet, which has been shared and liked more than 200,000 times, explained that adding a description to an image is “really simple and makes a huge difference to our Twitter experience”.

In a later post, he explained that usually when the screen reader gets to a picture it simply reads out a placeholder phrase akin to “here is an image”, without explaining what it is.

With the accessibility feature enabled, the uploader is able to add a description.

The additional description doesn’t count against character count and is only revealed via screenreader technology.

Descriptions can be added to each picture in a tweet, but not for gifs or video.

Since posting his polite request, Long has been inundated by people telling him they have turned the feature on and confirming they will be using it in the future.

Long’s passionate tweet has been welcomed by Eleanor Southwood, chair of the RNIB and a regular Twitter user who is registered blind.

She said: “Social media is a really powerful way of bringing people together.

The setting which needs to be turned on to allow for descriptions to be added (PA)

“Adding image descriptions to pictures on Twitter is quick and easy but makes a massive difference to blind and partially sighted people.

“That’s why RNIB is encouraging everyone to activate and use this feature so pictures shared on Twitter are accessible to everyone.”

Facebook uses automatic alternative text – known as alt text, it explains on its accessibility pages. It uses object recognition technology to create a description of a photo for the blind and vision-loss community.

More in this Section

WhatsApp to raise minimum age limit in EU to 16 ahead of data protection changes

Cyber attacks hit charities and businesses

GDPR: New EU data privacy laws just one month away

Q&A: What is GDPR and what does it mean for data privacy?

Today's Stories

Ulster Bank claims accounts issue ‘resolved’

Canney working out solo deal as alliance rift widens

Fine Gael to hold meeting on future coalition options

O’Rourke paid for women to travel for abortions


New father’s life ‘changed forever’ after he was run over by surgeon

The biggest cancer killer will take your breath away

Hopefully she had an idea...

Power of the press: Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks discuss 'The Post'

More From The Irish Examiner