Simon Fraser University uses several official social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Social media can oftentimes pose significant barriers to accessibility. However, there are a number of ways that you can make your social media content more accessible for everyone. Check out SFU’s social media channels hub to access all SFU-affiliated social media channels.
Tips for creating accessible social media content
- Add alternative text (alt-text) for images that convey meaning.
- Review automatically generated alt text and revise this text as needed. Doing so will ensure that your reader has an equal opportunity for understanding your content and its context.
- Use plain language and sentence structures. Keep your sentences short and concise.
- Avoid using special characters as replacements for font styling.
- Example: See this twitter thread to understand why using special characters in text can be problematic for individuals who use assistive reading technology.
- Avoid using acronyms in your post.
- Limit the use emojis or emoticons.
- Put @mentions and hashtags at the end of your captions, posts, or tweets.
- If you use hashtags, make sure to capitalize the first letter of each word in the hashtag (also known as camel backing or camel case).
- Example: Instead of using #simonfraseruniversity try #SimonFraserUniversity
Captions and described video
- Try to embed closed captions within videos. If you are unable to include closed captioning within the video content itself, you can provide your followers with a transcript of your video’s audio within the caption of your post.
- Before you upload videos with machine-generated closed captions, confirm the accuracy of the machine-generated closed captions and edit the transcript as needed.
- If your video content conveys important visual information which isn't being conveyed through the video's audio alone, adding described video to your videos will make them more accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired.
- When embedding a hyperlink into your content, indicate the hyperlink's destination format.
- Example: [AUDIO], [PIC], or [VIDEO].
- Use a URL shortener, such as Z Link, to minimize the number of characters within hyperlinks.
- For more guidance on using hyperlinks appropriately, refer to creating accessible documents on our documents page.
The University of Arkansas’ Partners for Inclusive Communities’ Explore Access website contains an informative Social Media Accessibility Toolkit. In addition, Queen’s University’s Accessibility Hub provides detailed How-To information for making social media content more accessible. Rooted in Rights’ #AccessThat webpage provides educational videos and guides you can explore to ensure your social media content is accessible to people with sensory disabilities.
Platform-specific guides and resources
- Accessibility | Facebook Help Center – This webpage contains important information regarding Facebook's accessibility features. This page answers frequently asked questions (FAQs) relating to accessibility features on Facebook.
- How does automatic alt text work on Facebook? | Facebook Help Center – This webpage answers FAQs and provides instructions for using Facebook's automatic alt text feature.
- How do I edit the alternative text for a photo on Facebook? | Facebook Help Center – This webpage contains step-by-step instructions on how to edit Facebook's automatically generated alt text for images posted on Facebook.
- Alternative text | Instagram Help Center – This resource provides step-by-step instructions on how you can edit automatic alternative text for your photos on Instagram.
- Accessibility | LinkedIn – This webpage describes LinkedIn's accessibility policies.
- How to make images accessible for people | Twitter Help Center – This webpage provides step-by-step instructions on how to compose image descriptions from various platforms for sighted users and for those using various assistive technologies.
- Accessibility and Twitter | American Foundation for the Blind – This webpage contains information about various accessibility features on Twitter and provides a legend of Twitter's shortcut keys.
Creating an accessible website will ensure that everyone can access, use, and interpret your website’s content. If you develop your website with accessibility in mind from the outset, this will ensure that your website can be used by everyone who wishes to access it. Overall, making your website accessible will benefit everyone.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) provides technical standards on website accessibility. The WCAG follows four key principles of accessibility:
- Web content must be perceivable.
- Web content must be operable.
- Web content must be understandable.
- Web content must be robust.
When developing your website's content, ensure that your content generally aligns with these four principles of web accessibility.
Resources for assessing the accessibility of your website