Accessibility is an important aspect of technology, and it's only been a few years since companies took it seriously. That's why Twitter's new reminders feature is great, but also strange in the way it's presented to users.
Adding descriptions to images has been available on Twitter for some time. It allows a visually impaired person to read a small block of text that explains what the image is, from its colors to its location and more.
Seeing images on Twitter while scrolling through your feed is incredibly common. From memes to what people are up to right now, there are plenty of things some users may be missing.
So while this new feature reminds you to type a description (opens in a new tab) when you add an image to a tweet, it's puzzling that it's happening to disabled users.
Analysis: one step forward, one step back
(Image credit: Twitter)
Currently, the feature appears for 10% of all Twitter users on iOS and Android, and if you're lucky enough to be in that group, you can go to Settings > Accessibility, display and languages > Accessibility and the reminder will appear for you to activate it.
However, this aspect seems retrograde. There should be a default reminder when adding an image; even a few words to say what the image is might be enough for many visually impaired users.
If you forget to add image descriptions, turning on the reminder will be a great favor to your future self. And everyone on Twitter. In fact, if everyone activates it, everyone will help everyone. Here's how to turn on the reminder: https://t.co/MR4KbZjrfy. (2 of 6) pic.twitter.com/J1jJBL2n8PJuly 13, 2022
To be fair, both Instagram (opens in new tab) and Facebook (opens in new tab) have the ability to add image descriptions, but there is no reminder to add them in those apps.
There have been some encouraging steps from Meta and Twitter on accessibility in general, but Reminders should be a universal feature enabled by default, not the other way around.