5 Ways To Make Your Social Media More Accessible
For the more than one billion people living with disabilities, the online world is a place to foster community and connection that might not be available offline.
While social media is an incredible tool for participation, our digital spaces have a long way to go before they are accessible for everyone.
To celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) today on 20 May 2021, we want to share five easy ways to make your social media more accessible and inclusive for people living with disabilities and impairments.
By writing in Easy English people can better read, understand and use your information.
Easy English is:
- Writing in everyday words.
- Using a simple sentence structure.
- Supporting your messages with meaningful and clear images.
- Avoid using a lot of acronyms and abbreviations.
Much of our social media use is built around sharing images, so it’s important we make this experience as accessible as possible.
Include alternative text (alt text) or image descriptions. These are descriptions that support the image by explaining what is being shown. This helps screen readers to interpret the image for a reader with mild, moderate or severe vision impairment.
Make sure there is high colour contrast between your text and background (learn more about this at Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). Likewise, use larger text in a sans-serif font, like Helvetica, Ariel or Open Sans so that it is easy to read.
Lastly, avoid using emojis where you can. Some people from diverse backgrounds can perceive emojis as negative or disrespectful. Emojis also disrupt the flow of a screen reader.
Sharing videos is one of the main way people connect across social media. It’s becoming more popular to include captions or subtitles in videos, which is making the content more accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
This can be done in two ways:
- Open captions – captions are part of the video and always visible.
- Closed captions – captions can be turned on or off by the user (only available on some social media platforms).
Alternatively, you can include the original video script in the description box.
It’s important to make your posts as easy to read as possible. This especially helps people who may have an intellectual disability, a condition like dyslexia or those who speak English as a second language.
When writing hashtags, use CamelCase for hashtags, showing the separation of words through a single capitalised letter. For example: #DisabilityInclusion
Include hashtags at the end of your post to avoid disrupting the flow of a screen reader.
Avoid jargon and idioms. These terms may be difficult for some people to interpret, and may cause even more confusion if the reader is from a diverse cultural background.
5. Stay Educated
As our technology and platforms adapt, we are finding ways to be more inclusive.
Visit the GAAD resources page
to learn more about being accessible online to be a part of this change.
Here are some other tools that will help you make posts that everyone can enjoy: