According to a 2017 study, there are 6.2 million Canadians aged 15 and over who have one or more disabilities. Some disabilities can restrict daily activities. Accessibility is about providing products, information, and services that meet everyone’s diverse needs.
When we think of accessibility, we often think about wheelchair ramps and automatic door buttons. Accessibility is far more than that. Thinking specifically about hearing and vision impairment, websites, social media, and advertising can be hard to consume for so. Here are five actions that will make your social media posts more accessible:
Adding Alternative text
By providing Alternative text to accompany images, photos, and graphics you are able to provide a concise description of the image for those with visual impairments or those using screen readers. Follow this simple step to make your posts on social media more accessible to people with different needs.
- Facebook: Once you have added a new post, go back and click on “Edit” and add the post description in the “Edit Alt Text” section.
- Instagram: Click create new post, select your pictures and go to “Advanced settings” when creating a post and then add a description in the “Alt text” box.
- Twitter: When creating a tweet with an image, photo, or graphic, you can add a description of your content in the bottom right corner.
- LinkedIn: The alt text feature is available when uploading an image, photo, or graphic from the desktop.
Limit the use of emojis
Individuals who use a screen reader have indicated that the use of emojis is disruptive. Looking at these emojis ❤️🌸🌝👌🏻🤔can be fun but a screen reader interprets each of them as a phrase and reading: “red heart, cherry blossom, full moon with a face, OK hand sign, thinking face.” aloud. Using emojis sparingly will make a difference.
Closed captions give users the option to turn captions on and off. Captions provide users with hearing and vision impairments to follow the video’s content. Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram all have auto-generated caption options which not only include the dialogue but also capture background noises and other sounds.
Hashtags have many uses, some social networks rely heavily on the use of hashtags. One of them is being able to look for specific content. Using hashtags with the first words capitalized helps screen reader features and dyslexic people to read them as individual words. If the first words are not capitalized the screen reader feature reads the whole sentence or statement as one word. For example, #standwithme VS #StandWithMe.
Government of Canada, S. C. (2018, November 28). Canadian survey on disability, 2017. The Daily. From https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/181128/dq181128a-eng.htm
Thayer, T. (2020, December 15). 6 ways to make your social media posts more accessible. FLAGSHIP SOCIAL. From https://flagshipsocial.com/blog/6-ways-to-make-your-social-media-posts-more-accessible