Facebook auto audio description of pictures

Picture of three phones with different picturesFacebook is becoming more inclusive for people who are blind or have low vision. Picture posts now have audio description. Have a look at the short video to see how it works. At the moment it is only on iOS, but coming to other platforms soon. The following is taken from the Facebook post which has a longer video explaining the process:
“Facebook accessibility specialist and engineer Matt King lost his vision completely in college.When he joined our accessibility team after more than 20 years in the accessibility field, one of the projects he was most excited to work on centered on using object recognition technology to automatically describe photos for people who are not able to see those photos.Today, with our launch of automatic alternative text, we’re taking an important step towards achieving that goal.

Automatic alternative text, or automatic alt text, is a new feature that generates a description of a photo through object recognition technology for someone who cannot see the photo. Before today, people who are visually impaired could only hear the name of the person who posted the photo as they scrolled past photos on Facebook. Now, if they’re using a screen reader on iOS, they’ll hear a richer description of the photo thanks to automatic alt text. For example, for a group photo on the beach, a person using a screen reader on iOS would now hear, “This image may contain: Three people, smiling, outdoors.” We are rolling this out in English over the next few weeks and will add more languages and platforms soon.

While this technology is still in its early stages, tapping its current capabilities to describe photos is a huge step toward providing our visually impaired community the same benefits and enjoyment that everyone else gets from photos. As Facebook becomes an increasingly visual experience, we hope our new automatic alt text technology will help the visually impaired community experience Facebook the same way others enjoy it.”

You might also look at an article about Twitter on the same topic.

Thanks to Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access for both items.