Six Degrees – Bringing New Era
Did you know that the first social media was called “Six Degrees,” founded by Andrew Weinreich in May 1996? This network launched the following year, including profiles, friends lists, and school affiliations in one service. However, the internet was not as accessible back then.
Social media has been a popular means of digital connection and information sharing since Facebook’s appearance. It has allowed people to connect easily, but is social media equal for everyone? People with disabilities are diverse, and it is essential to consider how social media can be made more assistive and accessible to them. How can we ensure that disabled individuals have the same access to digital content as everyone else?
Read on so we can guide you through tips on making your social media posts more accessible!
Social Media Guide for Accessibility
Did you know that around 20% of people have a long-term illness, impairment, or disability? Additionally, many others may experience a temporary or situational disability. It’s important to remember that health conditions can affect a person’s ability to comprehend information, whether due to cognitive impairment or difficulty seeing, hearing, or accessing it.
In this blog, we will focus on people with visual impairments and blind, and we’ll be sharing tips on how to make your social media posts accessible to everyone.
You may be wondering why it is essential to be accessible on social media, and we just answered your question in the previous sentence. Some people have specific disability, such as visual impairment and blindness, and cannot access your content. It is wrong not only for disabled people but also for you as a marketer. Your content is not accessible to everyone, and you can miss your target audience and sometimes even get judged and influence badly on society.
What is Social Media Accessibility?
Let’s clarify first what is social media accessibility because many people are not even familiar with its existence and meaning of it. People with disabilities use social media to access digital content in their preferred format: screen readers and assistive technology platforms such as InlusiveDocs. The process of designing and developing social media content and posts that provide a smooth, inclusive experience for everyone, including the person behind the marketing, is called accessibility. Imagine your content in a format everyone can use, regardless of individual abilities. It’s an incredible feeling; thus, you prove that you care for including this marginalized audience in something you created.
How to be Accessible on All Social Media
Let’s delve into the tricks and tips for creating accessible digital content for your audience on social media platforms.
Do not use emojis.
The screen readers decode these in the wrong way. Either get rid of it or use it with an additional explanation. The screen reader will be able to decode it, but after all, the person with visual impairments or who is blind will have difficulties understanding it.
For instance: I ❤️ studying 👩🏫! – the screen reader will read it as I, red heart studying, a woman with glasses studying! It doesn’t sound good, does it?
Use closed captions and subtitles for any visual interpretations
Whether it’s about a reel on Instagram or a specific video you want to post on TikTok, these media files need to be assistive, and your only way of doing it is by applying closed captions and subtitles.
Remember to add alt text to your images.
The alternative or alt text is an image description that says what your image contains, and the screen reader will read to the users so they will get an impression of what is going on in your publishing. Not to mention that for you (the marketer), the search engine will crawl and improve your SEO. So basically, you are killing two birds with one stone.
Guide on Adding Alt Text on Social Media
However, describing images with alt text on different social media platforms is complex and requires different steps. So, here you can find samples for adding alt text on various social media and what exactly it looks like:
Adding alt text to Facebook
- Upload your image to Facebook
- Click ‘edit photo’
- Click ‘alt text’ (if you don’t change the alt text, it will be generated automatically);
- Click ‘Override generated alt text’
- Populate the alt text and click ‘save’.
The steps for adding alt text on Instagram are very similar:
Adding alt text to Instagram
- Upload your image to Instagram
- Apply any filters or edits as required and then click ‘next’
- Click ‘advanced settings’ at the bottom of the screen
- Click ‘Write alt text’
- Populate the alt text and click ‘done’
- Share as normal.
Adding alt text to Twitter
- Click ‘compose tweet.’
- Attach your image (here you will find how to do this for different devices https://help.twitter.com/en/using-twitter/picture-descriptions)
- Click ‘add a description.’
- Populate the alt text and click ‘done’
- Complete your post
- Share as normal
Adding alt text to LinkedIn
As you add an image to a post, tap “Add Description” in the top right of your image.
Unfortunately, LinkedIn made this option available only for the web. Facebook’s Business Suite- Meta is next on the list that limits this feature; thus, this process is considered challenging.
Beautifying Fonts: A Real Nightmare for Screen Readers
Designing your web, app, or whatever digital content you have on it looks fancy and trendy, but have you ever wondered if the screen readers need help to read and decode this? Make sure that your font and hyperlink colors are accessible, and beware of viral trends that are not accessible.
Explaining Acronyms and Abbreviations
Spelling the acronyms and explaining the abbreviations relieve screen readers and people with unfamiliar words and phrases.
Avoid Technical Jargon
Avoiding jargon or any kind of complex technical vocabulary is a rule of thumb in the marketing field. It doesn’t only concerns people with disabilities but everyone. When posting something, always remember that there are non-native readers and people who are beginners in your field of interest. So your digital content should always be accessible with an appropriate reading score so everyone can read and understand it, including people with disabilities.
Mentions in a Text
We usually mention someone in the middle or at the end of a sentence. The most common reason for doing this is giving photo credits or when we want to tag someone. Very few follow the rule that the mention should be at the end of the sentence, which is very helpful for the screen reader.
Strengthen Your Relations on Social Media
Making your posts accessible and inclusive will bring you a broader audience, and you will become sociably responsible by helping people with disabilities to access your digital content.
We hope that this guide will help and give you the right direction for making your content accessible every day.