ADA-compliant websites have been around for a while, but what about your social media? Recently, the major social media platforms have made steps in the right direction by adding accessibility features. Learning the ins and outs of these new updates can be daunting, so we’re here to help you make sense of it and provide your followers with the best user experience possible.
What Does It Mean for Your Social Media to Be Accessible?
What’s the point of your social media channel? We’re betting it’s to share updates and information about your business, organization, or group with as many people as possible. Social media accessibility helps you do that.
Your followers are a diverse group of individuals—and your approach to social media content should reflect that.
Why Does It Matter?
When your social media is accessible to everyone, you’re able to connect with your entire potential audience.
When you consider that 1 in 4 adults in the United States has a disability, the need to incorporate an inclusive design into your social media strategy becomes a lot clearer.
Something else to consider is that inclusive design usually benefits everyone, including your non-disabled followers. A prime example of this is video captioning. This feature is essential for individuals with hearing impairments, but it’s also helpful for viewers who simply have their sound off. Not only is this a win-win situation for your audience, but it doesn’t take much extra effort on your part!
How Can You Make Your Social Media More Accessible?
Here are some of the best ways to start making your social media content accessible to more people.
Before clicking that “publish” button, take a moment to make sure your text is clear and accessible. How will assistive tools, like a screen reader, read your copy aloud? If someone is learning English as a second language, will they be able to understand it easily?
- Avoid slang or overly-technical language when possible. It can be hard to understand for non-native English speakers.
- Don’t use all caps. Screen readers have a hard time reading it, and your non-disabled followers will think you’re screaming at them. Just don’t do it.
- Go light on the emojis. Emojis are read aloud by screen readers and can be distracting from the rest of your copy.
- Use hashtags correctly. We saved this one for last because it’s so important! When you’re using multi-word hashtags, be sure to use “camel case.” Again, this helps screen readers pronounce everything correctly. (Think: #SocialMedia instead of #socialmedia)
Like we mentioned earlier, video captions have benefits for your entire audience, whether disabled or non-disabled. But they can also help with searchability and SEO! Keep reading for more ways to make your videos accessible.
- Proofread. Yes, we’re saying it again. Social media platforms will sometimes provide auto-generated captions, but they’re usually far from accurate.
- Descriptive transcripts. Go beyond just the dialogue of a video. It should read much like a script and include descriptions of what is visually happening in the video.
- Keep it simple. Don’t put too much text on the screen at once and use a large font.
If you have any experience with websites, odds are you know at least a few things about alt-text. It’s an essential feature for individuals with visual impairments and helps non-disabled individuals with connectivity issues. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn all have specific fields for you to add alt-text. Here are some tips for using it correctly.
- Proofread. Sometimes, alt-text fields will auto-populate, but you need to review them for accuracy and clarity.
- Give context. If you’re sharing something like a chart or infographic, be sure to convey what the image is telling the viewer. Just saying “Image of a chart” isn’t helpful.
- Rewrite text. If the image or graphic includes any text, be sure to put that in the alt-text description.
- Contrast. Images should have a contrast high enough to help people who are color blind or have other visual impairments.
Not Sure Where to Start?
We know that redoing your social media strategy can be a hard thought to stomach. You’ve put a lot of effort into it, but we promise it’s worth it to expand your audience and make your channels accessible to everyone.
Still not sure you’re up to the challenge? We’re here to help!