Guide 9: Accessibility for Social Media
Social media is one of the easiest and fastest ways to access information and connect online. To make this as accessible as possible to blind and partially sighted people, the following guidelines have been developed which make sure that everyone stays part of the conversation.
Write in plain English
Plain English helps people understand information the first time they read.
Use uncomplicated English with no Jargon.
Plan and write for your target audiences
Use every day words.
Consider tone of voice.
When you’re using hashtags, always capitalise the first letter of each word. This ensures that the words are read out separately by screen readers. It also makes them easier to read.
Make sure the audio has a clear, crisp sound.
Eliminate background noise.
When producing audio only content, a transcript should be provided.
Use large text on solid backgrounds.
Large text is always better than small text. People should be able to read the text easily.
Graphics should have good colour contrast.
Videos don’t need to be audio-described, as long as they are audio-led. This means that the audio must be as important as what’s on screen – the video should send the same message, both audibly and visually.
Ensure videos have high quality audio.
Information conveyed in on-screen text must be voiced.
Add subtitles to videos
All videos should have subtitles.
Subtitles should be solid colours. The preferred colour combination is white text on a solid black background as this is easier to read.
Image descriptions and alt text
Alt text (sometimes referred to as image descriptions) is a written description of an image, making it accessible to screen reader users.
Describing photos, or adding alternative text (alt text) is crucial for making your social media posts accessible for people who use screen readers.
You don’t need to include every single detail. Just think about the main elements that need to be conveyed.
If there is text in the image, write it all out in the description.
Use alt text for memes and gifs.
When sending images to others, always add an image description. This includes when sending images internally at RNIB, including for use on social media.
Facebook can automatically add generated alternative text for images. You can override this with your own description which will be more accurate.
Once you have added your caption, click on ‘Advanced settings’ and then select ‘Accessibility’. You’ll then have the option to ‘Write alt text’.
Instagram Stories do not have the option to add image descriptions, making them inaccessible to screen reader users. To be accessible, images must be posted as video clips with a voiceover added.
Once you have added your image, select the “Add alt text” option the image. Note: This feature is currently only available on desktop at the moment – when posting on mobile add a description to your post copy.
Once you have added an image to your tweet, tap the ‘add description’ button and write your alt text/image description.
Note: there is a limit of 1000 characters on Twitter.
Add image descriptions to the caption/post on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn is this is best accessibility practice. This benefits everyone.
- Use inclusive language.
- Only use one link per social media post.
- Don’t overuse caps
- Accessible copy is simple copy, and simple copy is effective copy.
- Don’t overuse emojis. Screen readers read out every emoji you use, so limit the amount you include in a post
- Use shortened URL’s.
For more information see:
Also training here:
This article was written by Lara Marshall (RNIB) [email protected]