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Making Social Media Content Accessible

PHOTO: Student using a screen reader device in a Utah State University study

If you have an Instagram, Twitch, Twitter, or other social account, be a good Gator and take steps to ensure your content is accessible. Here are some tips:

1. Alt-texting of photos
When alt-text is used on an image, it means that a description about the image was added to aid anyone using an accessibility device to consume content. A person using an accessibility device would get the text you entered in the alt-text box read to them when hovering over the image, helping them to more fully experience your social media content. Alt-texting helps give everyone the opportunity to fully engage online. It only takes a few minutes and…it’s the right thing to do!

2. Emojis
Emojis are fun but can confuse accessibility devices. The 👏 emoji, for example, will be read aloud as “clapping hands.” But consider what happens when an accessibility device encounters a “shruggie” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: This will be read aloud by a screen reader as, “macron, backslash, underline, katakana, underline, slash, macron.” And for that we say…☹

3. Accessibility Help Pages
Most social media companies provide instructions for making content accessible on their channel. While not complete (each channel has significant drawbacks to meeting ADA accessibility standards) we all have an obligation to do what we can. Here are some of the most-used social media companies and links to their accessibility page:

Twitter Accessibility Feature – Images Only
Facebook Accessibility Hints
Instagram Accessibility Feature – Images Only
Making Videos Posted on YouTube Accessible
Making TikTok Content Accessible