Seeing Progress and Profits: Instagram Adds Feature to Aid the Visually ImpaireD
Accessibility. It’s not just an accommodation. It’s an underrated boon for business.
Social media app Instagram is keenly aware, and on the job. With the introduction of new features that simplify their site for visually impaired users, they join other big players in social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, in expanding inclusivity.
How does this impact ecommerce merchants? The shopping public is reflective of overall demographics. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), at least 3 percent of all Americans aged 16 to 75 experience some level of significant visual impairment. That’s more than 7 million people.
Wouldn’t you like to make sure your goods and services are available to as many potential buyers as possible? Instagram thinks so.
Here’s how it works: Programmers employ object recognition technology to produce descriptions of images for screen readers, making it possible to actually hear lists of items contained in photos as you scroll through them. The feature operates when Feed, Explore, and Profile pages are accessed.
Even better, Instagram has launched a custom alternative text feature accommodating richer, more in-depth descriptions. This is a killer development that could revolutionize the intersecting entities of disability access and ecommerce.
The technology is fascinating, but the objective is cutting-edge. Increasingly, the Internet has become a medium of audio as well as visual.
Search Engine Journal offers a great intro to exploring this newfangled Instagram feature. The instructions are almost ridiculously simple, which is a huge bonus for busy ecommerce merchants wrapped up in other pursuits.
Don’t fret over the idea that Instagram’s robots may get it wrong. You will have the opportunity to hear its interpretations of your photo, and make corrections along the way.
Expand your business – and business customers
Among Social Media Influencers, trends are rampant, and followed closely. Karamo Brown, of the hit Netflix series “Queer Eye,” has devoted himself to make his contributions accessible to not only visually impaired fans, but those with hearing loss. He captions his Instagram videos so they may be enjoyed by those with auditory challenges.
“I’ve noticed that when it comes to supporting people living with disabilities, we often don’t think how we can show up or support them unless they are in our family or are a close friend,” Brown said about adding captions to his videos. “So I’m committing to making small changes in my life to support my disabled brothers and sisters.”
Captioning involves relatively simple steps on the Android and iOS platforms. It’s a tech version of Closed Captioning, which has allowed hearing-impaired viewers to enjoy feature films and TV shows.
And you should be on board. Consider this as you make your way through daily efforts to target and entice more potential customers. They may be in plain sight, without plain sight – or hearing. Yet they are members of the consuming public, and missing a chance to engage them would be a forced error you don’t want to commit.