Take a look at your social media and ask yourself this question:
“Is it accessible and inclusive for all?”
And by that, I mean, is it usable for blind, partially sighted, or deaf people?
Why accessibility is important
Not only does the UK government have accessibility guidelines set out which states:
“All public sector organisations have a legal duty to make sure their websites and mobile applications meet accessibility requirements.”
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are approximately:
- 1.3 billion people worldwide with a visual impairment
- 253 million with severe visual impairment or total blindness
- 466 million who are deaf or are hearing impaired
Being accessible and inclusive on social media isn’t something that’s spoken about an awful lot, but it’s something that’s so easy to get right.
5 ways to be more accessible and inclusive on social media
To make your social media more inclusive and accessible to customers with visual or hearing impairments, follow these five easy-to-implement tips:
1. Use emojis sparingly
A screen reader only hears the emoji description. So, if you stick emojis into the middle of a sentence, all the visually impaired person hears or reads is ‘man dancing’ and ‘woman dancing’. The use of these emojis as follows is likely to be confusing:
>> Strictly starts tonight!
>> Strictly [man dancing] [woman dancing] starts tonight!
To make sure you’re using emojis in an accessible way:
- Add them at the end of a sentence or message
- Limit your use of emojis
- Use popular emojis that are widely recognised and translate well across devices – you can check the meaning of an emoji on Emojipedia and how they render across different devices on unicode.org
2. Implement Camel Case into your Hashtags
In other words, capitalise the first letter of each new word in your hashtag (this is known as Camel Case).
So, #socialmediaaccessibility becomes #SocialMediaAccessibility.
It makes it easier for text-to-speech readers to pick out the individual words and makes hashtags easier to read for those without an impairment.
3. Add descriptions and alt-text to images
Image descriptions and alt-text allow blind or partially sighted customers to build a picture in their mind of what it is you’re showing them.
Here’s how to do this on different social platforms:
- Instagram: Upload your photo, click ‘advanced settings’, then click ‘write alt-text’ to add your description.
- LinkedIn: Upload your photo and it will automatically ask if you want to add alt-text to the image before posting.
- Twitter: Go to ‘Twitter Settings, ‘Accessibility’ and activate ‘Image Descriptions’. When uploading a photo, an ‘Alt’ option will come up for you to add your image description.
- Facebook: Upload your photo, click ‘Edit Photo’ and add your description in the ‘Alternative text’ box.
4. Add subtitles or audio descriptions to video
If your video is extremely audio-driven, you should be able to describe everything to visually impaired viewers. If there are any grey areas, make sure to add an audio description to your video – or if this isn’t possible, add a written description in the accompanying text.
And for those who are deaf, subtitles are crucial unless your video is a series of ‘How to’ text descriptions.
5. Make your copy easy to read
Whether somebody has a disability or not, readability is crucial. So, to make your written copy easy to read – use short sentences and cut out complicated words and jargon (a somewhat obvious message for comms pros!).
Things that are hard to follow at the best of times can be especially challenging for visually or audio impaired people.
Is your social media inclusive?
Having worked with a UK disability charity, I know how important it is to make your marketing and communications accessible and inclusive for all. Not only is it good practice, but it also makes life better for everyone and opens you up to a much wider audience.
So, if you’re ready to make your social media more inclusive, why not book a free 30-minute consultation with me to see how I can help you achieve your goals?
Want to get started?
Send a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll let you know your next step.