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Twitter Adds New Prompts to Get More Users Adding Alt Text Descriptions to Images

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Twitter Adds New Prompts to Get More Users Adding Alt Text Descriptions to Images

Hey, are you adding alt text captions to your uploaded images on Twitter?

You should be, and now, Twitter’s going to prompt you to do exactly that, with new pop-ups being shown to some users alerting them to the benefits of alternative text summaries within tweets.

As you can see in this alert, Twitter’s looking to get more users to consider adding alt-text, by providing an explainer on why text descriptions of images are important, and how they can help more people engage with their content.

Text descriptions are a key tool for visually impaired users, with screen readers able to communicate these descriptions to add relevant context. Twitter users are able to add text descriptions to any uploaded image or GIF, but it requires manual effort – hence these new prompts.

Twitter’s been working to improve its alternative text descriptions for some time, as part of its broader efforts to improve accessibility in the app.

Twitter added a dedicated ‘+ALT’ button, displayed on the image itself, back in 2020, in order to encourage more awareness of the option. It updated the feature in March this year, with a new ‘ALT’ badge now automatically added to images where alternative text descriptions are available.

Twitter’s also expanded its text description window to make them more accessible.

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Twitter alt text update

In combination, these have put significantly more focus on alt text for tweeted images, though Twitter could go further, by adding auto-generated text descriptions where alt text content is not available for an image.

That’s what Facebook now uses, with its Automated Alt Text (AAT) process facilitating the identification of objects within posted images via machine learning process.

Facebook Automatic Alt Text

It’s not perfect, but it helps to provide a better experience – and rather than hoping that users will add their own info when prompted, it ensures that there will be text descriptions available for all content.

Twitter’s prompts may help to provide more accurate descriptions (maybe), but they won’t be available at scale, as users can easily ignore the prompts and move on.

Maybe, the next stage then is to move into line with Meta’s approach, in utilizing automated object identification, which can also have expanded benefits in a range of additional applications and processes.

Whether that’s a focus for Twitter or not is hard to say, as no one really knows what the key developmental strategy for the app will be moving forward, given the current ownership confusion.

But if Twitter wants to take its accessibility tools to the next level, this seems like the obvious step.

Twitter’s new alt text prompts are being rolled out to a small group of users on iOS, Android, and web from today. Twitter will expand the prompts to more users over the coming weeks.

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Meta Launches New Reels Features, Including Stories to Reels Conversion and Improved Analytics

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Meta Launches New Reels Features, Including Stories to Reels Conversion and Improved Analytics

As it works to latch onto the short-form video trend, and negate the rising influence of TikTok, Meta has announced some new updates for Reels, across both Facebook and Instagram, including additional Reels insights, the expansion of the ‘Add Yours’ sticker, and ‘auto-created’ Reels clips. Yes, automatically created Reels videos.

Here’s how the new additions work.

The main addition is the expansion of the ‘Add Yours’ sticker from Stories to Reels, providing another way to prompt engagement from other users via Reels clips.

As you can see in these example images, you’ll now be able to post ‘Add Yours’ questions via Reels clips, while you’ll also be able to view all the various video responses to any prompt in each app.

It could be another way to spark engagement, and lean into the more interactive ethos of the short form video trend. Part of the appeal of TikTok is that it invites people in, with the participatory nature of the app essentially expanding meme engagement, by making it more accessible for users to add their own take.

Meta will be hoping that the ‘Add Yours’ sticker helps to facilitate the same, prompting more engagement with Reels clips.

Next up is auto-created Facebook Reels, which, as it sounds, will enable users to automatically convert their archived Stories into Reels clips.

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Reels updates

As you can see here, you’ll soon see a new ‘Create from Your Story Archive’ prompt in the Reels creation flow, which will then enable you to convert your Stories into Reels clips.

So it’s not exactly wholly automated Reels creation, as it’s just flipping your Stories clips into Reels as well. But it could provide another, simple way for users and brands to create Stories content, utilizing the video assets that they already have to link into the trend.

Worth noting that Meta also recently added a tool to convert your video assets into Reels within Creator Studio.

Meta’s also expanding access to its ‘Stars’ creator donations to Facebook Reels, which is now being opened up to all eligible creators.

Stars donations in Reels

Meta initially announced the coming expansion of Stars to Reels back in June, which will provide another critical monetization pathway for Reels creators. Short form video is not as directly monetizable as longer clips, where you can insert pre and mid-roll adds, so add-on elements like this are key to keeping creators posting, and fueling an ecosystem for such in its apps.

Stars on Reels will be available all creators that have maintained at least 1,000 followers over the last 60 days.

Meta’s also adding new Reels performance insights to Creator Studio, including Reach, Minutes Viewed, and Average Watch Time.

Reels updates

That’ll provide more perspective on what’s working, and what’s not, to help optimize your Reels approach – which could be especially valuable in the coming holiday push.

Lastly, Meta’s also expanding some Reels features that were previously only available in Instagram to Facebook as well.

Crossposting from Instagram to Facebook is now available to all Instagram users, while Meta’s also expanding its Remix option to Facebook Reels also.

Reels updates

As noted, Reels has become a key focus for Meta, as the short-form video trend continues to gain traction, and TikTok continues to rise as a potential competitor. By replicating TikTok’s main elements, Meta’s working to negate its key differentiation, which could ensure that more of its users don’t bother downloading a new app, and just stick with its platforms instead.’

Which, whether you agree with that approach or not, has proven effective. Reels content now makes up more than 20% of the time that people spend on Instagram, while video content, overall, makes up 50% of the time that people spend on Facebook.

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Meta additionally notes that it’s seen a more than 30% increase in engagement time with Reels across both Facebook and Instagram.

Meta doesn’t need to ‘beat’ TikTok as such (as much as it would like to), but it does need to dilute its significance if it can, and make it less appealing for users to have to start yet another new account, and re-build their friends list.

That’s why it’ll continue to replicate TikTok at every turn, because millions of people are currently not going to TikTok because of the presence of Reels in its apps.  

You can learn more about Meta’s new Reels updates here.

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