TechShare Pro 2020 - Making Social Media Accessible
In November 2020, members of the Jadu team attended TechShare Pro, an annual accessibility and inclusive design conference hosted by AbilityNet. The event focuses on offering insights and knowledge to attendees on creating and delivery digitally inclusive web content. Here are some key takeaways from the session ‘Making Social Media Accessible’, to help you make your accounts accessible to all:
When adding images to your social media posts, it’s important to remember to provide image descriptions and provide alternative text (ALT text). ALT text is used to provide a description of images to visitors who are unable to see them. This could include; screen reader users, browsers that block images, users who are sight-impaired or are otherwise unable to visually identify an image.
Some platforms auto-generate ALT text when you upload an image, so it is crucial to make sure you review them before publishing your post, to provide the most accurate description. Here are some tips for writing ALT text for images;
- Avoid redundant words, such as ‘This is an image of…’, as the assertive tech will do this
- Use 125-140 characters max
- Consider providing a description in the post itself
- Front-load important information - get to the point and keep it short!
Infographics can be a great way of distributing information in a creative way, but they’re not always the most accessible solution. However, if you are using infographics, follow these guidelines;
- Try to avoid images of just text
- Use sans serif fonts, and make any text bold, these both make it easier for the user to read
- Provide a plain text alternative
- Ensure there is sufficient contrast for graphics and text - it is suggested to use this ratio; 3:1 for objects, 4.5:1 for text
When using audio, whether through video, podcast or another medium, providing a transcript is essential for allowing all users to consume. Transcripts don’t need to follow a specific format, but indicating who is speaking (and their tone if necessary), using headings, adding any links mentioned and using lists can be extra helpful for users, as assistive technology picks these up, providing more content for the individual. If it is a video the audio is coming from, adding captions can be a big help too. Platforms like YouTube offer both of these features as standard, you just have to generate them when uploading your video, but they can be wrong so it’s important to check them over before publishing!
The DCMP has published subtitling guidelines, which may be useful that you can view here.
When creating a video, it’s important to remember these steps to help make it accessible for everyone, as not all social media platforms provide these features;
- Provide alternatives to the visuals, this can be through descriptive text in a transcript or captions
- Remember to add captions on videos on ALL platforms, in all formats - this includes Instagram stories, TikToks, etc., as these are often over-looked and exclude some of your users
- Mentions and Hashtags
When mentioning other users in your post, try and add them at the end of the post, so the core messaging content is presented to the user first. For example, if there are 5 accounts you want to mention, type up your post first, and then add all of these users at the very end. This helps stop confusion, especially with screen readers. This tip is also handy for hashtags - where you can, always add them at the end and avoid hash-tagging random words in your post.