ClassifAI — our free, open-source plugin that augments WordPress-powered websites with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology — is taking another step forward in support of content creators and digital publishers. Our newest release, ClassifAI 1.6, integrates Optical Character Recognition (OCR) scanning of screenshots and other imagery.
ClassifAI 1.6 launches on the heels of Facebook and Instagram dropping support for open embeds, which prevents platforms like WordPress from easily displaying original social posts by dropping a link into the editor. The OCR technology in ClassifAI 1.6 arrives at an opportune moment, making it easier to display social media posts on a WordPress site without compromising accessibility.
Automated Full Text Descriptions of Screenshots
ClassifAI 1.6 adds automated text scanning of uploaded images, including screenshots, using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. By storing this text in WordPress, content editors can search the contents of screenshots and other images and more easily add that plain text into the story’s copy when using the image in a post.
Replicating the text content of a screenshot in the body of a post benefits everyone: people reading on a small screen; users of minimalist reading modes; non-visual users, which includes smart speakers and assistive technologies; and search engines indexing a site.
This release was prioritized at an opportune time: use of social media post screenshots has grown, especially to showcase specific context and interactions at a given point in time. Those screenshots frequently proliferate to multiple publishing platforms, WordPress among them. This application and reliance on screenshots will only increase as Facebook and Instagram recently dropped support for easy, out-of-the-box, direct embedding of social posts.
ClassifAI goes the extra mile to:
- Help properly associate the full text with the inserted image using modern semantic web markup
- Empower editors to freely tweak that content to fit the context and layout
Uploading an image prompts you to insert scanned text if any is found, and subtle highlighting helps associate the image with the text while editing.
When used in combination with automatically generated alternative text, ClassifAI provides the best possible experience for information-heavy images.
While it is still possible to add interactive Facebook and Instagram embeds to WordPress content by registering an app and obtaining a token to use with a plugin or custom code, this move to lock down oEmbed usage adds yet another layer of difficulty for publishers and content creators who already have to navigate managing embeds that can break for any number of reasons.
10up remains an advocate for the open web and open technologies, while also recognizing the need to bring intuitive, accessible tools to real-world content management workflows.
ClassifAI properly associates the image with the full text by using the ‘aria-describedby’ attribute.
Additional New Features in ClassifAI 1.6
WordPress-CLI Command For Smart Cropping
Developers can use the WordPress-CLI command to submit a comma delimited list of Post IDs for Watson NLU language processing and send images to Azure Computer Vision to get scanned, classified, and tagged — one-by-one or in bulk. Following the addition of smart focal point cropping for images in ClassifAI 1.5, this release expands developer support by including a wp classifai crop command.
Improved CDN Support
WordPress sites using a content delivery network (CDN) to store images, like Azure Cloud Storage or Amazon Web Services (AWS), generate a URL for each image. Previously, when Azure AI attempted to access the WordPress image URL to be processed by ClassifAI, it was unable to access those CDN images. If a CDN plugin is in play, ClassifAI now recognizes the correct image URL and images are processed as expected.
This latest release also delivers compatibility with WordPress 5.5, an update to newer Azure Computer Vision processing endpoints, and other under-the-hood fixes.
Enhance Your WordPress Content
As a connector to cloud-based services like IBM Watson and Microsoft Azure AI, ClassifAI enhances content management in WordPress with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities that include:
- Automated content tagging and classification
- Automated image tagging and descriptive alt text assignment
- Smart focal point cropping of images
- Bulk scanning of existing content
- OCR text generation for screenshots
The plugin is designed to be extended, offering robust hooks and filters for developers to customize service providers and integration points.
To register for a free license key and download the plugin, head to ClassifAIPlugin.com. Registration allows us to keep adopters apprised of major updates and beta testing opportunities, gather feedback, and prioritize common use cases.
ClassifAI is also available on GitHub, where we are actively reviewing feedback and issue reports.