Accessibility on Social Media
UH Hilo encourages all social media content creators to take some thoughtful steps, such as using text fields to convey complete descriptions, including alternate text, and providing captions for videos. These steps will ensure that the content published on social media is accessible to all, including those using screen readers or other assistive devices.
- Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit Hackpad lists best practices for accessible social media in public service.
- The University of Minnesota’s Accessible U provides tutorials for all of the major social media platforms.
- Try their alternative text skill builder
- Princeton University’s Social Media Accessibility Guidelines has several guides, including one on writing appropriate alternative text.
- SiteImprove has several helpful tips in a blog article about accessible posting.
- Google makes it easy to add captions to a YouTube video. Learn how to Add your own subtitles & closed captions
- Facebook provides a way to add captions to videos, using the 'Video Settings' dialog. They also have a number of keyboard shortcuts to navigate their site without a mouse or trackpad.
- On Twitter, the picture descriptions setting allows for you to provide alternate text: Learn How to make images accessible for people using Twitter.
Write Accessible Posts
- Use a URL shortener to minimize the number of characters in the hyperlink.
- Place hashtags at the end of posts:
- In Facebook, put hashtags after the photo caption or description, or in a comment if you have many hashtags.
- Put mentions and hashtags at the end of your tweets.
Capitalize the first letter of each word in a hashtag.
Don't use acronyms in your posts.
Provide Alternative Text
Always provide relevent alternative text when you post social media images.
- Facebook and Instagram add machine-generated alt text automatically but you can edit it.
- You can add descriptive alt text to images in LinkedIn.
Turn on alternative text for images in your Twitter settings.
Don't accept the machine-generated alt text without checking it to see if you can provide more context for screen reader users.
Captions are necessary when you post videos on social media.
- Add a caption file, or use YouTube’s captioning services for Facebook videos.
- Use the post's description area to add alternative text to caption video posts in Instagram.
- Use closed captioning when sharing a video on LinkedIn (available from the desktop site).
- Turn on alternative text for images in your Twitter settings.
Instagram ( Inaccessible)
The post below is an example of an inaccessible Instagram post. The graphic contains words that are not available to non-sighted users. For example, a text-to-speech screen reader would find no information to convey to a visitor.
Also, don't forget the ʻokina in Hawaiʻi.
Instagram ( accessible)
This example instagram post is more accessible. Although it also uses text in the image (not recommended), that text is also available in the caption for visitors, such as non-sighted users who rely on assistive technologies like screen readers.