How to make your socials more accessible
July is Disability Pride Month, what did you learn during the month? We’re sharing some tips you can use to be an ally to the disabled community in the digital space. In recent years, social platforms and media outlets have improved accessibility online for those who use tools such as screen readers. Creating accessibility is a social responsibility we all have, so scroll down to read what Matte PR does to make our content more accessible and how you can too.
Accessibility Empowers Us All
When your content is inaccessible, you’re not reaching a large portion of social media users. Social media is known for its influence in the business and marketing realm, and by starting to incorporate accessibility features like alt text on all social media content, you are opening the doors to a wider audience. During their Etalk interview discussing the docuseries Breaking Character, Matte PR’s own Rachel Romu said it best: “accessibility empowers us all.”
Alt text or alternative text is a written description of an image. For those that are low vision, partially sighted or blind, screen readers can transform a written image description into audio. Properly written alt text is a detailed and specific explanation of the image, including any colours, and physical characteristics in addition to the general subject matter or scene. On most platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and TikTok), alt text can easily be added before posting through advanced settings.
Another key factor when writing anything on social media (not just alt-text) is to capitalize the first letter of each word in a hashtag. This is called Camel Case, and it helps those that use screen readers understand the subject matter easier as if it were being read as #SeparateWords.
Using an excessive amount of emojis mid-sentence can make text difficult to understand for people that use screen readers. This is because the screen reader will read out the description of each emoticon. Adding them to the end of a sentence won’t hurt and can even help convey a playful and fun message. 🎉
Some colourblind users may have difficulty seeing certain shades in images and graphics. By avoiding green on red or red on green and using contrasting light and dark tones, they will have an easier time clearly seeing colourful images.
Subtitles and Closed Captions
As algorithms favour videos, posting video content has also become a huge part of social media. Whenever you upload a video, be sure to include subtitles of what is said during the video to make your content accessible to those a part of the d/Deaf, Hard of Hearing communities and folks with auditory processing disorders.
Though the term ‘subtitles’ and ‘closed captions’ are similar, they are actually quite different. Closed captions feature text as well as sound or background noise descriptions. Some platforms offer auto-generated subtitles and closed captions, but if they are not available, add text under your videos using the editing software of your choice. Some free options are Kapwing and Canva.
Stop what you're doing and check out this clip of Matte PR's @RachelRomu and their @BreakingDocTV cast-mate @DanBarraBerger on @etalkCTV. The two performers spoke about #disabilityvisibility in the entertainment industry and what the @AccessibleMedia series means to them. pic.twitter.com/1fqe5qYBXd
— Matte PR (@MatteStories) June 1, 2022
Improving the accessibility of your social media can open your own world to new perspectives and ideas. When social media is able to reach everyone, regardless of their disability, the conversation can spread further. Elevate your social media channels on a daily basis and be mindful of all audience members, not just a select few.
Liked reading our accessibility piece? Check out our previous post about our client Breaking Character, a disability-led docuseries on AMI-tv.