Perhaps it is just the people I follow on my personal account, but in recent years there have definitely been more conversations about making Instagram more accessible for people who are visually impaired.
Whilst there is no denying Instagram is very much based on visual content, many users with limited sight use screen reading softwear to engage with the platform. As such awareness has been growing with more and more users choosing to use text (in accessible fonts) in their videos and image descriptions within their image captions.
And it seems Instagram has noticed. Instagram auto captions is a new feature being beta tested through some accounts.
From the videos being posted online, it appears that users can click on a ‘Closed Caption’ sticker in Stories, which then automatically generates captions in a range of font styles. Because let’s face it, Instagram will forever be focused on aesthetics.
After clicking on the sticker a ‘transcribing video’ prompt is added to your screen and then you can view the captions before posting. As a nice touch, Instagram has ensured the captions are visible in time with your speaking.
Some Instagram users have reported tried out the sticker only to receive an ‘Internal Error’ message, so it may be some time before it is available to all.
Now, if you are a keen Instagrammer or TikToker, this feature may seem slightly familiar to the Threads app Instagram released last year. Thread’s on-screen captioning feature saw it rapidly scale the download charts – but not in the intended way.
Rather than using it as Instagram planned, people used the app to create videos with on-screen text, which they then uploaded to TikTok. I can only imagine how annoyed the Instagram team must have been!
However, given the popularity of Threads, I have little doubt that the current tests will prove successful and this feature will soon be available for everyone.
This will be especially handy for brands looking to make their content as inclusive as possible, which could be key going forwards as consumers look to support brands to share their values.