For those living with a visual impairment or using a screen reader, image descriptions allow people to understand what is being shared on their phone or computer screen and provide that extra level of accessibility that a simple image cannot offer on its own.
Many social media sites offer an ‘accessibility’ feature in their settings, where you can tick a box to include image descriptions in your posts, along with increasing a ‘colour contrast’ to photos, another feature that assists those with a visual impairment.
When it comes to social media, accessibility and inclusivity are incredibly important to help those living with disabilities feel seen and heard and put them at the forefront of these conversations.
Someone who does this well in Australia is disability advocate Carly Findlay. In an article detailing why she started introducing image descriptions to her social media posts, Carly wrote, “just by writing them on your social media posts and web content, you’re making a whole new audience feel welcome in your space of the Internet.”
The descriptions can be included in the body of the text underneath the image or in the first comment (usually for Instagram) and can be only a couple of sentences, depending on the image.
An example of an image description could be:
“Woman with brown hair, wearing a red dress with short sleeves is sitting on a park bench and looking at the camera, with her hands on her lap.”
Descriptions like this help those with a visual impairment or screen readers put together the details and visualise the image themselves.
To read more of what Carly had to say on the importance of image descriptions, click here and keep an eye out on our social media pages for these image descriptions in the coming weeks and months.