How to . . . make Twitter more accessible

One small tweak can make a huge difference

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock

 

Love Twitter or loathe it, the platform is still popular. Twitter’s timeline can either be an informative stream or a hot mess, depending on your point of view, and like most social media, it’s easy to get lost in endless scrolling.

But if you have difficulties with your vision, Twitter’s timeline can be full of holes. While there is software and settings on mobile devices that can read the text on the screen to users and provide help with navigation - VoiceOver on iOS, for example - Twitter can often be a visual medium. Gifs, images, memes - their contents can’t automatically be read by the screen readers. They need a bit of help.

But there is a way that you can help make Twitter better for people with visual impairments - add a description to your images. It won’t work for moving images, but it will fill in one of the holes on your timeline.

On iOS and Android

Tap your profile picture, then go to Settings & Privacy>Accessibility and turn on Compose Image Descriptions. The next time you compose a tweet with an image included, you will see a small bubble with “Add description” appear overlayed on the bottom of the image. Select it and type your description.

On Twitter.com

Click on your profile picture, then go to Settings & Privacy>Accessibility and check Image descriptions. When you add an image to a tweet, “Add description” will appear under the photograph. Again, add your description in this field and you will have made things a little easier for someone scrolling through your Twitter timeline.