Facebook technology for the visually impaired

March 30, 2016

by FOX 5 NEWS, New York

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For a lot of us, one of the first things we do when we pick up our phone or sit down at a computer is log in to Facebook. But for some people with disabilities, checking out the latest post or photo album can be a lot more challenging than it should be.

Dorrie Rush is visually impaired and is the director of the Grunwald Technology Center at Lighthouse Guild, an organization that works primarily to help the visually impaired and blind.

Dorrie says Facebook is difficult to use because it is so visual. She says the tools that exist right now — like Apple’s Voiceover — are great. But she says they are lacking when it comes to visual elements like pictures and videos.

Now Facebook is working to make the site and apps more accessible using artificial intelligence. The first product is launching in April. It’s an automated tool that helps the visually impaired “see” a photo by describing the context of what’s in it. Right now the tool is very basic but the company plans to keep improving it.

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