At least one billion people in the world have some form of disability. Whether an impairment with vision, hearing, cognition, or mobility people with disabilities often use assistive generation such as screen readers, closed captioning, voice command, and more to gain access to virtual content.
If you’re handling a company’s social media, it’s essential to recognize the effect accessibility has on your audience – no matter the nature of the business. Advertisers know that businesses and organizations must create content that speaks to their audience, however non-inclusive content material and can push potential customers away.
Enhancing the accessibility of your posts doesn’t mean drastic adjustments to your social media content; small changes can ensure your posts are available to everyone.
Here are five easy ways to enhance the accessibility of your social media posts:
1. Make text accessible.
Writing with accuracy makes content simpler for audiences to understand. Ensure your social media content is written in plain, easy language so display readers and assistive devices can convey your message without compromising your brand’s voice. Don’t overuse caps, as complete caps may be tough to study or could be misinterpreted. Apply a suitable font style that’s easily legible and clean to study and avoid the use of unique characters.
2. Provide descriptive image captions.
Using pictures and .gifs allows you to have fun on your posts and provides a great opportunity to showcase unique aspects of your organization. However, take the time to make descriptive captions and draft alternative text (alt text) to help people visualize images when they aren’t able to see them.
When writing alt text, remember to:
- Describe the image itself within the context of the social media post.
- Accurately convey the content. There’s a huge difference between “image of a chart” and something more descriptive like “a bar chart illustrates that there has been a year-over-year increase in forest fires, peaking at 100 this year.”
- End the alt text with a period, making the screen reader pause after the last word.
- Use dashes for acronyms; otherwise, the screen reader tries to read the acronym as a word. For example, you might write “USA” as “U-S-A” in the alt text, so the screen reader doesn’t pronounce it phonetically.
- Mention color and action if it is important to understand the image.
3. Include video captions
Closed captions are crucial for viewers with hearing impairments. They also enhance the viewing experience for people watching in their non-native language or viewers in sound-off environments. Captions also allow viewers to follow along with audio or captions interchangeably.
4. Be intentional with hashtags
When using hashtags, capitalize the first letter of each word in the hashtag. This allows screen readers to read them correctly. It also helps eliminate vagueness.
5. Don’t go overboard with emojis
Text-to-speech software reads out a description for each emoji used, so be careful with the amount of emojis you include in your social media copy.
For example, if someone puts three check emojis, the software will read out: “check check check.” If you are going to use emojis, limit yourself to two or three so you don’t bring down the readability of your content. When adding emojis, be sure to place them at the end of your copy. This will lessen a listener’s confusion.
As social media marketers, we’re responsible for making sure the content we control is welcoming for fans of all types — and accessibility is essential to reaching that goal. By following these guidelines and being intentional with our posts, we are able to ensure our social media presence can be enjoyed by all.