Blind war veteran goes viral with tutorial to aid Twitter’s visually impaired
Rob Long, who describes himself as a London-based military veteran injured in Afghanistan, shared details on how other Twitter users could have their images described for the visually impaired.
I’m a blind twitter user. There are a lot of us out there. Increase your ability to reach us and help us interact with your pictures, it’s really simple and makes a huge difference to our twitter experiance allowing us to see your images our way. Thanks for the description 😎 pic.twitter.com/hCsjoFdmev— Rob Long (@_Red_Long) January 3, 2018
Long received an overwhelming response to his tweet which garnered more than 200,000 retweets and likes. In another tweet Long shared a video describing the impact captioning has on a blind person’s Twitter interactions.
Voiceover technology allows written posts to be understood. However, images pose an obstacle if these settings aren’t switched on. “It makes a massive difference to a visually impaired Twitter user,” Long said, explaining that it would also increase a user’s audience.
This is how captioning works and why it’s important. Would really appreciate people spreading the word and creating a more accessible twitter for blind users. Thanks 🙈 pic.twitter.com/LMntCuEOqy— Rob Long (@_Red_Long) January 3, 2018
The additional description isn’t included in the character count and is only revealed via screen reader technology. People quickly followed his advice, saying that until now they were unaware of the option despite it being introduced by Twitter in March 2016.
Long admitted he only found out about the feature recently, quipping that TV presenter Piers Morgan and comedian Ricky Gervais were apparently also unaware of this simple way to increase their followers.
A lot of people don’t, I’m grateful for the retweets. Even people like @rickygervais and @piersmorgan probably don’t know and they must have at least a fair few blind followers they wouldn’t want to exclude.— Rob Long (@_Red_Long) January 3, 2018
Following the massive reaction, Long thanked the public for their support: ”You’ve made Twitter visible for so many people.”
The Royal National Institute of Blind People began a campaign at the start of the month to highlight the feature. Users can change their accessibility options by finding the tab under settings and ticking the boxes to allow image descriptions and video autoplay.