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Dublin: 1 °C Tuesday 25 February, 2020

This is why Sinead Burke and others are adding image descriptions to their Instagram posts

Let’s keep it accessible, people.

DEPENDING ON WHAT kind of accounts you follow on Instagram, you might have seen a recent trend appearing in your feed.

Certainly, if you follow activist and fashion icon Sinead Burke, you will have noticed she includes an image description for the image posted below the caption.

Now, if you’re in possession of two working eyes (lucky you), you might be wondering, “what’s the point?” That’s the thing though – not everyone has two perfectly working eyes. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to flex for the ‘gram as much as you though.

Although screen readers and braille technology work efficiently with text posts, images themselves have proven to be an area of difficulty.

Twitter lead the way in 2016 when it introduced image descriptions to help the visually impaired. Using up to 420 characters, people can provide details of the image they are tweeting. The description can then be accessed by the visually impaired and be read like any other text post using their assistive technology.

Sadly, there’s no such feature built into Instagram itself yet, so users have to do it via the caption. 

View this post on Instagram

The speech. . . [Image description: An image of two pieces of paper on my dining room table - my speech from last night’s Green Carpet Fashion Awards. It reads: “Thank you Livia and Eco-Age for this very special award. Marco, thank you for your kind words. It’s not lost on me that they chose the tallest man in fashion to give me this award. I have been enamoured by the fashion industry since childhood. For me, Fashion is incredibly important because it is the one industry that we each have to interact with - legally, we must all wear clothes. Fashion is armour, it is a vehicle for self-expression and confidence but growing up - I felt left out. I was not considered within the architecture of this industry. Over the past year, I have been fortunate to collaborate and bask in the leadership of so many to change that. . . Thank you to my incredible family, who tonight are at home in Ireland cheering me on. Thank you to Daniel Marks, Julietta Dexter, Alice Delahunt, Niamh Watmore, Ruby Stephens, Sarah Manley, Christopher Kane, Richard Malone, Jess Christie, Valerie Ford, Carmen Busquets, Sian Westerman, Jo Ellison, Vanessa Friedman, Imran Amed, Tim Blanks, Tim Walker, Giles Hattersley and my Editor - Edward Enninful. . . Fashion is a powerful spotlight that shapes culture and transforms the world around us. What can and will you do to use your power, position and privilege to make this most beautiful and exclusive space more inclusive and accessible to those, like me, who spend decades dreaming of a moment just like this? Go raibh míle maith again.Thank you.”]

A post shared by Sinéad Burke (@thesineadburke) on

As well as improving accessibility, it also makes it easier for people to find your images, which is common sense if you want to make it as an #influencer.

So, there you go.

DailyEdge is on Instagram!

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