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Instagram Outlines Key Updates to Improve the In-App Experience for Visually Impaired Users

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Instagram Outlines Key Updates to Improve the In-App Experience for Visually Impaired Users


Instagram has shared a new overview of how it’s improving its systems for screen readers, in order to enable more people to experience the app in the same way, by focusing on the core elements of utility and action within the Instagram experience.

Increasing accessibility is an important focus, and it’s interesting to note how Instagram has gone about refining its display for screen readers, by simplifying its overall layout and process, helping visually impaired users move quickly through posts in the app, and get a better sense of each update.

Instagram’s accessibility team says that it’s worked to improve two core elements in its process – post-labeling and UI element grouping.

First off, on post labeling – Instagram says its current labeling system is often too complex for screen readers, as it can take time to cover each individual element.

“On using TalkBack to navigate our feeds we discovered that it could take over a minute to swipe from one post to the next, since each visible UI element received individual focus. The ability to rapidly explore posts, which is something that we normally associate with the Instagram experience, was completely missing. This was definitely not ideal and we wanted every user to enjoy the same feeling of discovery when they land on Instagram’s feed, whether they use a screen-reader or not.”

That lead Instagram’s Accessibility team to simplify the post layout, cutting down the amount of cues that screen readers need to translate per post.

“The most noticeable change we made was condensing the focus hierarchy to represent each post with only two elements: the media and the post actions. These improvements simplified navigation by representing each individual post as one focusable element and reduced swipe time between posts from minutes to just seconds.”

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Streamlining this process has reduced the number of gestures it takes users to scroll through a post “from as many as 30 swipes to just 2”, which saves a lot of time in interpretation, enabling visually impaired users to move through the feed faster, and better respond to posts of interest.

The final piece of this puzzle involved moving the post actions (Like, Comment, Send Post and Save) into one bottom sheet, which can then be accessed via custom actions on iOS, or a separate button between feed posts on Android.

The process seems relatively straightforward – reduce the amount of inputs on-screen and you can simplify the translation process, improving the experience for those using screen readers. But it takes significant development work to achieve, and it’s interesting to note the varying approach for visually impaired users, and how Instagram presents each post to different audiences.

That’s also an important consideration for marketers looking to reach different groups, and if you haven’t considered accessibility aspects in your approach, it’s worth thinking over how you can incorporate the same, in order to help your target audience get the most out of your updates.

You can read more about Instagram accessibility development process here.





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Snapchat Launches Snapchat+ Service in India, at a Significantly Lower Price Point

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Snapchat Officially Launches its New 'Snapchat+' Subscription Program

This is one way to boost your ‘average revenue per user’ stats.

A month after launching its new Snapchat+ subscription offering to users in predominantly western markets, Snap is now also making the option available in India – though at a much lower price point than the initial push.

Snapchat+, which offers exclusive access to new and experimental features, including alternative icons, profile badges, additional analytics and also a desktop version of the app, is available to users in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and UAE for $US3.99 per month (or local equivalent).

But in India, Snapchat+ will be launched at a starting price of 49 – which converts to around $US0.62.

That seems like a fairly big discount, and according to reports, Snapchat+ in India will offer access to all the same features and tools that the general offering has.

So why so cheap?

Well, for one, it’s a different market, and Snap needs to price its offerings in line with the local economy. Snapchat+ also doesn’t cost Snap anything to produce, as such, as there are no production costs built in (other than system maintenance), so it has the flexibility offer variable price points, if it so chooses.

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And as noted, it could crucially be a way for Snap to enhance its revenue per user stats, which, right now, reflect its strong reliance on the North American market for revenue.

Snapchat Q2 2022

If Snap can even that out, and show how it can become a more important, valuable platform in other markets, and make money from its presence, that could help to improve its market standing, while also bringing in additional revenue – which would also be income that’s not reliant on ad spend. And like all social apps, Snap’s ad revenue has taken a hit due to Apple’s ATT update.

It seems like a logical and sensible approach, helping to make the app more sticky with Indian users, and ideally, increasing adoption and revenue intake in another key region.

Snap has seen significant growth in India since it upgraded its Android app back in 2019. Android is by far the most popular OS in the Indian market, and as local connectivity and tech continues to evolve, that’s also opened the door for Snapchat to establish a bigger local presence, while the banning of TikTok in 2020 also pushed Indian users to find alternatives, further enhancing Snap’s appeal.

Indeed, Snapchat is now reportedly up to 144 million daily actives in the Indian market, overtaking the US (108m) as its top country by user adoption – so while it’s not the highest earning region for the company, it is now, arguably, the most important, which is why the expansion of Snapchat+ makes sense.

And while western users may be annoyed that they have to pay more for these features, it could be a clever push by Snap, which could end up paying off big time for the app.  

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