How to have an inclusive online presence
Written by Nick (Intern)
As a user of social media, ensuring your profile and posts are accessible for all is important and quite easy to do. In this blog you’ll find four steps that will help to make your online presence inclusive to all users!
Step One: ALT Text
ALT Text is a detailed description that explains the features of an image that you post. For people that are blind or low vision, this assists one understand the content of the image and details included. As this text is the main description, it’s very important for the description to be as detailed as possible including the colours, patterns, people, actions and the objects within the image. An example of good and not so good ALT text is shown below.
Good description: An orange background with pink and yellow graphics of a support dog across the image. In a white box there is the text 'Fury friends are welcome at Groove Tunes'
Not so good description: Text in front of graphic of dogs
Step Two: Accessible hashtags
Hashtags are the perfect way to increase the reach of your social media posts, but have you ever noticed how difficult some of them are to understand? Are you able to easily understand ‘#accessiblehashtagsareimportant’?. To make hashtags accessible, use Camel Case. This is where the first letter of each word is capitalised, therefore making it easier to comprehend. The implementation of camel case would turn the example given above into #AccessibleHashtagsAreImportant. Not only does this make it easier for people to understand, but it also makes it accessible for those using screen readers, allowing the screen reader to translate the hashtag correctly.
Step Three: Accessible posters
Trying to create the perfect poster or social media tile is often quite difficult, particularly with the variety of colours, fonts and designs that are available. When designing these posts, it is important to think about the colour contrast, fonts and the text size. To achieve a clean and accessible design, ensure that the colour of the font stands out from the background and the word sizing is no smaller than 12 pt. font. Accessible font size or large text is considered 18 pt. font. Think about graphics being used and how ‘busy’ your post looks, the cleaner the design the better. This helps audiences that are low vision understand what’s included in the posts and the messaging that is being conveyed. See below for examples of an accessible poster and a not so accessible poster.
Not so great poster:
Step Four: Captioning
When posting videos on social media, the use of captions is a helpful way to ensure that people who are hard of hearing or Deaf are able to access and understand your content. Captioning can be quite easy to implement with various websites able to convert the voice to text or you can even do it yourself. Many websites offer free captioning with some good ones being Animaker and Veed.io. Although it may take some time to learn how to use, including captioning in your own videos is important in improving the accessibility of your online content.
By implementing these steps into your social media strategies and activities, you can help improve the accessibility of your posts while also increasing the reach of these posts to a bigger audience!