Instagram rolls out features for visually impaired and better control over sharing

Anne Freier

In Mobile Advertising. December 3, 2018

Instagram has announced a row of new features for the visually impaired and new tools for Instagram Stories that lets users manage how they share photos and videos.

In an effort to provide improved access for the visually impaired, the popular imaging app has made it easier for users to hear descriptions of photos through a screen reader technology. The technology uses object recognition which helps to create descriptions of photos that users can listen to from within Instagram.

Descriptive texts which often accompany photos are also being read out and Instagrammers are now able to add even more details to the photos.

Parent Facebook originally rolled out similar features back in 2016, leaving some advocates for the visually impaired to question why it took Instagram so long to follow suit.

In addition, the company has bolstered flexibility by allowing Instagrammers to share certain events with select people only. It added a feature to Stories that lets users create ‘close friends’ lists, which they can then select to share select moments with.

The ‘Close Friends’ option is available under individual profile tabs. Importantly, other users aren’t able to see the lists and cannot request to be added to them. It is entirely at the discretion of the individual to select ‘close friends’.