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Social Media

Basics

  1. Supply accurate text alternatives for images.
  2. Caption videos.
  3. Make hashtags accessible.
  4. Use a URL shortener.

In depth

Accessibility is as important on social media as it is on your website. Although you have little influence over the accessibility of social media platforms, themselves, you have complete control over how accessible your posts are. Make sure you're reaching as wide an audience as possible, including people with disabilities, by following these easy steps.

1. Supply accurate text alternatives for images.

Images that convey meaningful information must have alternative text that describes them in the body of your post, in a caption, or as "hidden" ALT text on the image.

Instagram and Facebook supply auto-generated ALT text for images using object-recognition technology. Often, the automatic captions are not accurate and should be edited.

LinkedIn auto-generates ALT text for only some images. Twitter does not have auto-generated alternative text, and you must enable "Compose image descriptions" in your Settings to manually supply ALT text.

See more about writing effective ALT text.

2. Caption videos.

At ASU, all online videos must be captioned. Video captions are vital for many people, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

If you are uploading a video file to social media, make sure it has accurate captions. Before publishing, do one of the following:

  • If the platform auto-generates captions, edit them for accuracy.
  • Create captions outside the platform (for example, on YouTube) and upload the .SRT file to the social media platform. (See instructions for creating captions on YouTube.)
  • Embed captions directly into the video before uploading, using captioning apps like Apple Clips (built into iOS) or Clipomatic.

If you are embedding or linking to a video that lives on another platform, such as YouTube or Vimeo, ensure that the captions are accurate on the third-party site.

Captioning methods allowedFacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram
Auto-generated captionsX
Upload a caption file (.SRT file) created
outside the platform
XXX

Upload a video with embedded captions

XXXX
Embed a third-party video (Vimeo or
YouTube) that already has captions
XXXX
Link to a third-party site with a
captioned version of the video
XXXX

See more on creating good captions.

3. Make hashtags accessible.

Capitalize the first letter of each word in hashtags. Screen readers will be more likely to read each word, rather than one long, garbled mess. For instance, #ThisIsBetterForScreenReaders than #THISISNOTGOOD or #noristhis.

In addition, move mentions and hashtags to the end of your posts. Navigating them can be very confusing for people using screen readers.

4. Use a URL shortener.

Short URLs are much easier to listen to than a long string of letters, numbers, and punctuation. Twitter automatically shortens URLs to 23 characters, but other social media platforms do not. See https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/google-url-shortener-alternatives for... Oops. I mean, see this article on "The 7 Best Link Shorteners" to find one you like.