Accessible content for social media

Do you know how to make your social media posts accessible? In this article, we discuss ways to reduce accessibility barriers when writing posts, sharing links, and posting images and video.

Writing posts

  • Write posts that are easy to read and understand. Be careful of:
    • jargon, abbreviations – avoid them if your audience is not familiar with them
    • idioms – non-literal language can be difficult to interpret
    • maintaining clarity while being concise when posting on Twitter.
  • When using multiple-word hashtags, capitalise the first letter in each word so they’ll be more readable (#WebWriting, #SocialMediaTips).
  • Consider placing hashtags and @mentions at the end of your post, so the main part of it can be read without interruption.
  • Limit your use of emoticons. If you do use them, make sure the emotion they portray is obvious from the text in your post. Avoid text-based emoticons. VoiceOver can read some of them properly, but many will be misread by screen readers.

Linking in posts

  • Ensure linked content is clearly labelled:
    • Social networks like Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn generate a link and description based on metadata from the resource you’re linking to (the og:title and og:description if the resource includes Open Graph metadata, otherwise the HTML title and meta description). You might need to supplement or clarify them.
    • Remove the URL from your Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn post after the network has generated the link and description. Leaving it duplicates the link in a form that’s not easy to read.
    • Where necessary, include text that explains the value of the linked content or the reason why you’re sharing it.
  • Avoid linking to inaccessible content. If you must, consider including a warning (‘no captions’, for example).
  • Limit links to documents. If used, ensure PDFs are tagged and warn users about the file type and size (‘[PDF 500kB]’ for example)
  • Consider including a warning when linking directly to images, infographics, video or audio (‘[PIC]’, ‘[VIDEO]’, ‘[AUDIO]’), unless your post already makes this obvious.

Using images in posts

  • Provide a text alternative for images you post, except where the image is purely decorative.
    • Include the text alternative as part of your post. On Twitter, you could use EasyChirp which lets you write a longer text alternative which it links from your post
    • For image galleries, use the space provided for captions to include a text alternative for each image
  • Post images with strong colour contrast, so the text and any data they contain is legible.
  • Avoid posting images that use colour alone for meaning. If you must use them, include text to provide the information that a colour-blind person would otherwise miss out on.
  • Minimise posting images of text, except when the text is decorative or part of a logo, screenshot, map, diagram or chart. If you must post them, prefer images where the text is large and uses a plain font.
  • Don’t post images that flash more than 3 times in any second, unless you’ve tested them to ensure they won’t cause seizures.

Using video in posts

  • Post video that is captioned and includes any necessary audio descriptions.
    • Post on YouTube where you can caption and audio describe video.
    • If you post directly to other networks, link to a captioned and audio-described version.
    • Don’t rely on auto-generated captions as they are often inaccurate.
  • Give each video a clear title and description.
  • Avoid posting videos that use colour alone to convey meaning, or poor colour contrast for text or data contained in them.
  • Don’t post videos with content that flashes more than 3 times in any second, unless you’ve tested them to ensure they won’t cause seizures.
  • Where possible, provide a link to a transcript.

Resources