Accessible social media
- Supply accurate text alternatives for images.
- Caption videos.
- Make hashtags accessible.
- Use a URL shortener.
Accessibility is as important on social media as it is on your website. Although you have little influence over the accessibility of social media platforms, themselves, you have complete control over how accessible your posts are. Make sure you're reaching as wide an audience as possible, including people with disabilities, by following these easy steps.
1. Supply accurate text alternatives for images.
Images that convey meaningful information must have alternative text that describes them in the body of your post, in a caption, or as "hidden" ALT text on the image.
Many social media platforms supply auto-generated ALT text for images using object-recognition technology. Automatic captions often are inaccurate and should always be edited.
For instructions on how to add alt text to images in Hootsuite, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more, see this helpful slide deck from Charrie Larkin, Social Media Manager at EdPlus.
See more about writing effective ALT text.
2. Caption videos.
At ASU, all online videos must be captioned. Video captions are vital for many people, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
If you are uploading a video file to social media, make sure it has accurate captions. Before publishing, do one of the following:
- If the platform auto-generates captions, edit them for accuracy.
- Create captions outside the platform (for example, on YouTube) and upload the .SRT file to the social media platform. (See instructions for creating captions on YouTube.)
- Embed captions directly into the video before uploading, using captioning apps like Apple Clips (built into iOS) or Clipomatic.
If you are embedding or linking to a video that lives on another platform, such as YouTube or Vimeo, ensure that the captions are accurate on the third-party site.
See more on creating good captions.
3. Make hashtags accessible.
Capitalize the first letter of each word in hashtags. Screen readers will be more likely to read each word, rather than one long, garbled mess. For instance, #ThisIsBetterForScreenReaders than #THISISNOTGOOD or #noristhis.
In addition, move mentions and hashtags to the end of your posts. Navigating them can be very confusing for people using screen readers.
4. Use a URL shortener.
Short URLs are much easier to listen to than a long string of letters, numbers, and punctuation. Twitter automatically shortens URLs to 23 characters, but other social media platforms do not. See https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/google-url-shortener-alternatives for... Oops. I mean, see this article on "The 7 Best Link Shorteners" to find one you like. ;)
Workshop: accessible social media
Download the Slides and the Transcript
- For accessibility in online learning and education, join the UDAT working group.
- Connect with us on ASU's #accessibility Slack channel.
- Subscribe to ASU's ITACCESS mailing list.