Facebook Launches New Image Feature to Help Visually Impaired Users

To ensure that its visually impaired users aren’t missing out, Facebook has launched a new feature to help them understand images on the site.

As well as the text on the page, Facebookers using screen readers will now also hear a description of what any images may contain.

To do this, the tech geniuses at Facebook designed a computer vision system which can recognise places, people and objects in an image. Each photo is analysed for the presence of these elements, then a short sentence is composed which describes the image.

This is included in the alt text of the photo, so when a screen reader is used, the description will be heard. Facebook say that they can identify at least one element in more than half of the photos on their site with 80 percent accuracy or better, and although they’re only guessing what’s in each photo, this development could still make a big difference to the Facebook experience of many users.

Nice work Facebook for making your network better for everyone 🙂

Here’s a video explaining how it works in more detail:

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