Photo: Pexels.

CAPE TOWN – Instagram announced that it will be launching new features today that will make the app easier to use for people with visual impairments. 

Instagram said in a blog post: "With more than 285 million people in the world who have visual impairments, we know there are many people who could benefit from a more accessible Instagram.

"First, we’re introducing automatic alternative text so you can hear descriptions of photos through your screen reader when you use Feed, Explore and Profile. This feature uses object recognition technology to generate a description of photos for screen readers so you can hear a list of items that photos may contain as you browse the app."

The changes will allow screen readers to describe photos, either automatically using AI or by reading custom descriptions added by users.

It will also allow Instagram to identify what’s in a photo using object recognition technology when there's no description added to the photo. The app will then read its automated description of a photo aloud when a user is by the text.

The company said that they will also be adding custom alternative text so that users can add a richer description of their photos when they upload a photo. 

"People using screen readers will be able to hear this description", said Instagram.