I still have a vivid memory of having my eyes wide open but not being able to see. It was terrifying. I was fortunate, my eyesight returned completely, but many who suffer from impaired vision, either as a result of disease, injury or degeneration, are not so lucky.
What has my experience got to do with writing, books and the little known feature on Twitter and Facebook? I guess I just wanted to convey how suddenly we can find ourselves in the position of losing our sight.
On the 1st April, my debut novel, The Thief’s Daughter, was released by Soundings as an audiobook. It is narrated by the very talented and experienced voice-over artist, Emma Powell, and I believe her soft, husky and expressive voice adds to the experience of being whisked back in time to the 18th century. See if you agree by clicking HERE to listen to the preview.
I spend a lot of time on social media as part of promoting my writing. How was I going to promote the audio version of my novel to visually impaired fans of fiction? Screen reading software is great for the written word, but I wanted the cover of the audiobook to be accessible to them too. It turns out that Twitter and Facebook were already one step ahead of me.
In 2016, Twitter added a feature to help visually impaired twitter users “see” the images attached to tweets by allowing the tweeter to add a description to the image which could be read by screen reading software.
This is how you enable the feature:-
Click on your Twitter Profile drop down box and click on Settings and Privacy
Facebook has an alternate text feature for images too. To learn how to do it click on this LINK or follow the steps below:-
Upload a photo to your Facebook page and click on the edit icon.
So next time you post an image on Twitter or Facebook, consider making the image accessible to users who are visually impaired by using the features described above.
Do you know of any features that can be used to help increase the access to social media by the visually impaired? I would love to hear about them.