Twitter has announced that it is testing new accessibility significantly more useful and prominent for everyone on the platform. With the changes, images that have descriptions will be given a badge that says ‘’alt’’, and clicking on the badge will show the descriptions. The change has been a long time coming. The change has been a long time coming, but that is has been a long time coming but that is not of necessity a surprise Twitter not necessarily a surprise Twitter did not have a dyed-in-the-wool accessibility team until 2020.
According to Twitter, around 3 percent of users will get to try out the new quality for a month and it will roll out globally at the beginning of April. Until then, it seems like most people still won’t have access to alt text descriptions unless they are using a display person who reads or are willing to jump through a lot of hoops.
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As Twitter explains at the end of its thread, users have waited a while for this functionality. Image descriptions were introduced in 2016, but they have not been particularly well-known on the platform it is relatively easy to miss the button that lets you add one. That may be because of how Twitter handled accessibility quality in the past. Up until late 2020, employees had to volunteer to work on them alongside their normal jobs, and there was not a team dedicated to making Twitter easier to use for those who needed it most. Since the team conception, Twitter has had supplementary live captions to voice tweets and videos.