Social Media Accessibility

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The following resources offer guidance on how to ensure your social media content is as accessible and inclusive as possible.

Start with general platform-agnostic considerations:

Additional platform-specific guidance is listed below:

 

General Considerations for Social Media Accessibility

Similar to general web accessibility considerations, follow best practices as much as possible to ensure your social media content is accessible and inclusive. We have compiled a brief list of usability and accessibility tips/strategies below:

  • From an accessibility perspective, poor color contrast impacts the readability of your content, especially for individuals with low vision. From a marketing perspective, contrast helps your content stand out to end users. Resources are provided below:

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Using color alone to identify or emphasize important information could impact individuals with visual challenges (i.e., low vision, colorblindness).

Example of poor use of color


In this example, the US, Canada, and Germany are identified by color alone.


More accessible version of same chart


Using the same chart, now color, line type (i.e., dashed, solid), and labels are used to distinguish between the different countries.

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Screen readers will actually read emojis out loud for individuals who are unable to see them (e.g., smiling face, angry face, smiling face with glasses, etc.). Using multiple emojis in one message or placing the most important information after a series of emojis may result in screen reader users bypassing the message altogether.

Resources are provided below:

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Screen reading applications read each character when it encounters a URL. Whenever possible, use services like TinyURL and Bitly to shorten URLs used in your social media posts.

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Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn actually offer you the ability to upload video along with a separate captions file (i.e., .SRT file). Other platforms (e.g., Twitter, Instagram, etc.) will allow you to share video, but you will need to burn the captions into the video before uploading it (i.e., open captions).

Additional Resources:

  • Creating Accessible Multimedia Content
  • VEED.io* (can generate auto-subtitles)
    • VEED.io offers a quick and easy way to produce burned-in captions for short video clips. The free account allows you to creating burned-in captions for clips less than 10-minutes, but videos are watermarked with VEED.io. An upgraded account allows for removal of the watermark and the ability to work with longer video content. You can then upload the video clips directly to any social media platform.

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For short clips it may be possible to place the transcript in the post. For longer recordings, provide a link to a copy of the transcript.

Additional resources:

  • Otter.ai*
    • The basic account is free and offers up to 600 free minutes of transcription per month. The transcription also attempts to break down the audio by speaker. Transcribe your audio, host it on your website or web server, and share the link along with the audio recording on your social media account.

 

  • Transcribe using Voice Typing in Google Docs*
    • For short clips, this is another option for creating a quick transcript.
      • Open up Google Docs.
      • Go to Tools>Voice Typing.
      • Select the appropriate speaker language (e.g., English/US) and the start speaking. (NOTE: You also play the audio from your recording, loud enough for the microphone to pick up the speech and transcribe it.)

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Audio description or descriptive video is basically a narrator describing what is happening visually in a movie or video clip to individuals with visual impairments. This is typically needed when it is difficult to understand what is happening from the audio alone.

Additional information: 

  • Guidance coming soon…

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Making your Facebook posts more inclusive

To add alternative text descriptions before you post the image, do the following:

  • Click Photo/Video at the top of your News Feed.

 

  • Select the photo you want to add.
  • Click Edit Photo.

  • In the Alternative Text box, write your alternative text description (i.e., alt text). You can also add a Caption for the image.

  • To save your alt text and caption, click Save on the bottom left.
  • Click the Left Arrow, then click Done.
  • Your post will look like this when it is completed (NOTE: The alt text does not appear. It is only available to the screen reader user):

 

 

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To edit alternative text descriptions for an image that you already posted, do the following:

  • Click the photo to open it.
  • Click Options (3 horizontal dots) in the top right and select Change Alt Text.

 

 

  • Automatically generated alt text appears in the top box. The alt text you provided appears on the bottom. Click the bottom edit box to add/edit alt text. If you remove your alt text, the automatically generated alt text is read aloud to the screen reader user. Otherwise, your alt text is read aloud.

 

  • Click Save.

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Making your Twitter posts more inclusive

To add alternative text descriptions, do the following:

  • When composing a Tweet, click on Photo/Video.

 

  • Attach your photo(s). (NOTE: For detailed instructions about adding photos to your Tweets, read Tweeting GIFs and pictures).
  • To insert descriptive text, click Add description.

 

  • Type your description of the image and click the Done button. To edit the description, re-open the Add description dialog prior to posting the Tweet. (The limit is 1000 characters.)

  • You can add a description to each image in a Tweet. (NOTE: Image descriptions cannot be added to videos.)

 

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To add alternative text descriptions for Twitter in iOS, do the following:

  • Add an image from your photo gallery or take a picture.
  • After adding an image, tap +ALT. (NOTE: You can also tap on the image a second time to open the Edit photo screen. Tap ALT on the bottom right.)

 

 

  • On the Write alt text screen, add your alt text description beneath the photo.

  • Tap Done.
  • Tap Tweet when you are ready to post your message.

 

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Mentions (i.e., @AccessibleMason) and hashtags (i.e., #equity) should be placed at the end of your tweets. This improves the readability of your post, especially for assistive technology users (e.g., screen readers).

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Instead of #georgemason, use #GeorgeMason. When stringing together multiple words in your hashtag, use CamelCase. CamelCase improves the reading experience for screen reader users as each identifies and announces each word.

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Making your Instagram posts more inclusive

To add alternative text descriptions for LinkedIn posts, do the following:

  • Start by taking a photo or uploading an existing photo to Instagram.
  • Choose a filter and edit the image, then tap Next.
  • Tap Advanced Settings at the bottom of the screen.

 

  • Tap Write Alt Text.

  • Write your alt text in the box and tap Done (iOS) or Save (Android).

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To change the alt text of a photo after you’ve already posted it on Instagram:

  • Go to the photo and tap  (iOS) or(Android).

  • Tap Edit.

  • Tap Edit Alt Text in the bottom right.

 

  • Write the alt text in the box and tap Done (iOS) or  (Android).

 

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Making your LinkedIn posts more inclusive

To add alternative text descriptions for LinkedIn posts, do the following:

  • Click on the Camera button.

 

  • After adding an image, click Add Alt text.

  • Enter your alt text in the edit box and then click Save.

 

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Additional Resources for Social Media Accessibility

The following resources offer additional general guidance and how-to information for assistive technology users:

  • Navigating Social Media with Assistive Technology
  • Additional General Guidance for Creating Accessible Social Media

 

Still have questions?

If you have additional questions related to Blackboard accessibility, please contact the ATI.