Blind Veteran Highlights Little-Known Twitter Aid

Rob Long hopes picture description feature will help other visually impaired users...

A blind veteran has attracted attention worldwide after he highlighted a little-known feature that can describe pictures to visually impaired Twitter users.

Rob Long lost his sight when he was caught in an IED explosion in Afghanistan while serving with the Royal Artillery in 2010.

Blind veteran Rob Long

Despite the technology being introduced to the social media platform in 2016, it has not been widely publicised until Rob tweeted the importance of the feature, which has since been retweeted over 140,000 times.

Blind veteran Rob Long listens to Twitter visual aid

The Army veteran who competes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu against sighted opponents told Forces News:

“When there’s a funny picture out there that gets retweeted over and over and over again and the thread will just say ROFL (Rolling On The Floor Laughing) or LOL (Laugh Out Loud) - I have no idea what it is and I’m trying to figure it out from the thread so I can contribute”

Caption from blind veteran Rob Long about Twitter visual aid feature

The feature can be enabled on Twitter by going to 'Settings and Privacy', 'Accessibility' and turning on the 'Compose Image Description'.

Then, when you add pictures to your tweets, you will see an 'Add Description' box where you can describe your image.

Blind veteran Rob Long using Twitter

Rob says by adding this simple caption, which takes a few seconds, it allows blind or visually impaired people to benefit from the platform.

“ Obviously I can’t see the picture but I can paint a portrait in my mind -  I can conjure up an image from a description" 

Blind veteran Rob Long and Twitter visual aid

The veteran hopes that this is just the beginning of the technology being more accessible to blind people and is pleased that so much attention has been given to the cause.