Social Media Accessibility Best Practices

Social Media Accessibility Best Practices

It's our job to make sure that every piece of content we publish on social media is accessible to all. However, social media platforms don’t always make it easy to add alternative text or take into account other disabilities like hearing impairment or loss, visual impairment or loss, distractions, etc. Here are some tips to make your social media content as compliant as possible so everyone can participate.

Burn captions on videos.

For videos on Snapchat, Instagram stories, YouTube, Facebook and others, it is recommended to burn in captions. Make sure to use a san serif font at 12 points or larger to make reading easier for viewers. You can also use the auto-caption on YouTube and Facebook but be sure to check for accuracy. There are tools out there for auto-captioning on Instagram/Snapchat stories like Cliptomatic and rev.com. Caption files (.srt) can also be added to YouTube. See our YouTube best practices section for details.

Insert helpful alt text.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn all have the ability to edit alternative text on video, photos and graphics. Take the time to put in more descriptive language about the image/video. Remember to describe what is happening in the image rather than simply listing what is in the image. Your goal is to provide the visually impaired with the same or similar experience as someone who is sighted. Avoid classifying someone’s race in the alt text or any commentary - keep it neutral and fact-based. 

  1. Twitter alt text guide 

  2. Facebook alt text guide

  3. Instagram alt text guide

  4. LinkedIn alt text guide

Shorten your URLs.

URLs are read character-by-character by site-readers, so make them short and customize them when possible. (i.e. bit.ly/aggieheroes vs bit.ly/abcdefg) 

Avoid using graphics that have text overlay.

That's right! That means you should not be posting any more fliers unless you want to also put that copy in the body of the post and edit the alt text. Additionally, fliers are not well-received by online communities because they look like ads. (See our approach to building engaging content section for more). 

Avoid acronyms.

They are tricky for site-readers, and frankly confuse folks who are not in the know anyway. 

Camelback hashtags.

That means capitalize each first letter of each word in a hashtag. i.e. #AggiePrideFridays vs #aggiepridefridays

Be aware of color contrast.

Check your images, your bio section, thumbnail images and graphics, and your Instagram and Snapchat stories to make sure there is a high contrast of colors to ensure legibility, particularly for those who live with color blindness. Use a color contrast analyzer tool, such as this Chrome plug-in. It can help you determine if your content complies with accessibility standards.