GIPHY and Scribely Partner to Improve Platform Accessibility for Users with Screen Readers

1 in 5 people today identify as disabled. Whether that be visual, cognitive, or mobile, there is a significant population who require assistive technologies to navigate the web. Today, GIPHY and content accessibility solutions provider, Scribely, are announcing a partnership that helps fill in the missing content that makes the web inaccessible to those who are visually impaired.

By partnering with Scribely, GIPHY will be the first GIF provider to have alt text descriptions for our most popular content available through our API. This means screen readers will read aloud the alt text for this content enabling these users to experience GIFs when they search and share GIPHY content to express themselves.

Furthermore, Scribely adds an essential human touch to this entire process. Rather than using auto-generated descriptions or plainly describing what they see, Scribely’s team of writers are well-versed in accessibility guidelines and write effective and engaging descriptions that take the message and the meaning in mind. They consider, for example, “what is the purpose of this GIF?” and “why would someone send it?” This ensures that the user experience with alt text is as engaging, equitable, and thoughtful as possible.

“GIFs are an important part of our daily lives, thanks to their unique ability to convey ideas, emotions, and humor in ways that static images often can’t. These looping videos move us to moments of joy and happiness. But without alt text, the moment is lost and excludes millions. That’s why this project with GIPHY is so monumental and necessary. I’m deeply proud of the work we’re doing and I hope it will enable everyone to share GIPHY’s delightful content more inclusively,” says Caroline Desrosiers, founder and CEO of Scribely.

Alt text on GIPHY is now available for our most popular pieces of content based on top search terms with plans to gradually roll out alt text to more of our library. This means that on GIPHY web and mobile apps, alt text will automatically be read aloud via screen reader devices for that content. For GIPHY integration partners, alt text can be leveraged via the API. If interested, partners should reach out to their business development contact at GIPHY to turn on the feature (see here for more details as well). Partners can also choose to expose the alt text copy in their own UI/UX as they wish.

“Scribely’s knowledge and expertise with alt text descriptions made them the ideal partner for improving GIPHY’s accessibility for the visually impaired and our users on screen readers,” says Amanda Kaufmann, VP of Product, GIPHY. “We anticipate many users will benefit from this partnership and know this is just the beginning of what we expect to be a long term partnership with Scribely in making GIPHY a more equitable and accessible platform.”

For more from GIPHY, follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok @GIPHY.

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