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Is Your Social Media Accessible to Users With Disabilities?

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When you think about website accessibility keep in mind the importance of your social media channels also being accessible to all users, including those with disabilities.

Due to the worldwide public health emergency, restrictions on travel, friends and family being separated by distance or separated due to immunocompromised members, social distancing and working from home, many people are dealing with isolation. One way people can stay connected during this challenging time is through social media.

Social Media Should Promote Inclusivity

Social media, in addition to other online resources for information, news, and connection, should be inclusive to all users and made accessible to persons with disabilities.

When posting to social media, do so with an attitude of inclusion for all users, persons with disabilities and even the user who is blind or has low vision. Social media accessibility means that someone with a disability, visual or otherwise, should be able to perceive, understand and enjoy the message or image that is posted.

A large part of the appeal of social media is being able to share not only events in your personal life or business, but it’s also a tool to highlight products, services, promotions, information, news and much more. In a time when gathering together has restrictions and safety concerns, being able to access information online and stay connected from afar through social media is more important than ever.

Criteria to Consider to Make Social Media More Accessible

A lot of what we share on social media contains images along with text, but for users who cannot see, or who cannot see well, the images that make the post more compelling won’t add value for them. Adding detailed descriptions of the images posted on social media will allow screen reading technology to share those descriptions with users who are blind or who have low vision.

Another big part of social media posts are the hashtags. Hashtags often include multiple words strung together, which make it difficult for screen reading technology to read or pronounce words not separated by spaces. One way to remedy this is by using something known as CamelCase Hashtags where each individual word in the string begins with a capital letter. This will allow screen reading technology to recognize the words in the hashtag.

Additionally, keep in mind the success criteria outlined in the WCAG Quick Reference Guide when making your website and social media channels more accessible to users with disabilities. Websites should be:

  1. Perceivable
    • Provide text alternatives for non-text content
    • Provide alternatives for time-based media
    • Create content that can be presented in different ways without losing the information
    • Make it easier for users to see and/or hear content
  2. Operable
    • Make all functionality available from a keyboard
    • Provide users enough time to access the content
    • Do not post or design content that may cause seizures or physical reactions
    • Make the website or social channel easy to navigate
  3. Understandable
    • Make text readable and understandable
    • Make sites operable in predictable ways
    • Help users avoid and correct mistakes
  4. Robust
    • Maximize the site’s capability to allow assistive technology use

T-Base Specializes in Website Accessibility

T-Base is committed to helping companies adjust their website and social media channels to be inclusive to all users. During a time when feeling connected and combating feelings of isolation is a challenge, having accessible websites and social media channels can make a huge difference to users who are blind, who have low vision or who are disabled. To learn more about website and social media accessibility contact T-Base today.

Jeff Jullion

Jeff Jullion

Manager of Education Accessibility Communications  at T-Base Communications Inc.