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How to Create Accessible Social Media and Website Content

taught by: Meryl Evans


Session Summary

Learn how to make sure the content — text, images, video, and audio — you share on your website and social media is accessible.


Description

Digital accessibility isn't just the responsibility of the design and production team. It's everyone's job. If a company cares about accessibility, then the executives need to support it.

OK. Maybe a marketer doesn't know to add alternative text to images. Maybe a salesperson doesn't know videos need to captions, transcripts, and audio description. Maybe a writer designer doesn't know about a better way to make headers stand out other than to use bold.

Do you detect a theme here?

I believe the biggest root cause of inaccessibility is the lack of education.

Yet, WebAIM Million says out of one million sites it evaluated, 98.1% of home pages had detectable accessibility problems. It would not be surprising if the number is just as high or higher on social media and other digital content.

Inaccessible content affects more than those living with a disability. For instance, when it comes to captioning videos, most people think it's for the Deaf and hard of hearing. But it turns out a lot of people with typical hearing use it. A Verizon Media survey has found 69 percent of people say they view videos in public without sound. 

What about screen readers? They're not just for humans who are blind or have low vision. People with processing disorders, learning differences, and focus problems use screen readers.

Besides, anyone can become temporarily or situationally disabled. While playing tennis, I tore a ligament in my right thumb. It required surgery. I couldn't use my thumb for weeks. 

Creating accessible content on websites and social media is easier than you think. It's a matter of knowing what to do. For instance, headers in many articles are simply bolded to stand out and help people scan the article. Except, it makes it harder for screen readers to scan. 

Think of it this way. When you watch a video or listen to a podcast, it's hard to skip around without any pointers. That's what's happening with a screen reader that tries to scan an article without headers. The fix is super easy. There are no extra steps when you know what to do. It's the same steps as bolding. 

Social media networks are slowly integrating more accessible features. At the moment, you can't upload captions with a video on Twitter. But there are ways to work around that. Adding alternative text for images on LinkedIn did not work properly. Now it does, but some images still don't work. It depends where the image comes from.


Practical Skills

  • Why accessibility matters in content
  • How to optimize content for accessibility
  • How to ensure images, video, and audio are accessible