May 19, 2022
We are responsible for ensuring Instagram is not only available but also accessible to everyone. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 2.2 billion people live with vision impairments and over 430 million people live with hearing loss. To better meet the needs of these and other disability communities, Instagram includes support for a variety of accessibility features built into iOS and Android, and we have developed and refined our own in-app accessibility features.
Today, we’re providing more information about all of Instagram’s accessibility features through Instagram operated accounts like @creators. In @creators’ latest post, we explain the importance of using accessibility features, from alt-text to auto-generated captions, to create a more positive experience for your audience.
For years, Instagram has offered existing features such as dark mode and screen reader improvements. Additionally, we improved our automatic and custom alternative text options for people with vision impairments. If you’re interested in how we’re working to make Instagram more accessible for screen readers, check out our blog post called Crafting an Accessible Instagram Feed.
Additionally, we improved our automatic and custom alternative text options for people with vision impairments. First, we launched automatic alternative text; this feature uses object recognition technology to generate a description of photos for screen readers. Then, we introduced custom alternative text, giving creators the ability to add their own image descriptions before posting. However, this alone is not enough.
We’ve also started rolling out numerous closed caption features to enrich the Instagram experience for our Deaf and hard of hearing communities. Currently, ⅓ of video plays on Instagram are with the sound off, so closed captioning is one way to improve both the experience for and engagement-retention of all users.
Here are 3 other ways we support the more expansive use of captions:
In addition to these features, we’re encouraging creators to think about how to use our products to promote and expand accessibility. For example, in March 2021 we launched Live Rooms, giving creators the option of going live with up to 3 additional people. Since its release, creators have used Live Rooms to include American Sign Language interpreters in public meetings like press briefings and constituent Q&As.
This is just the start. We believe everyone deserves equitable access to the tools necessary to be effective and efficient communicators on Instagram.
Download our Accessibility One-Pager for additional tips on creating accessible content or visit about.instagram.com/civic for general best practices resources.