So what does it mean to be accessible on social media platforms? Whether you're adding a video to Facebook, a photo to Instagram or a poll to Twitter, you need to make sure your content can be easily understood by everyone.
Here are some tips for how you can make it work on some of the most popular platforms:
But no matter your platform, some best practices are true no matter what.
Photos, Gifs and Graphics
When it comes to images on social media, content and context are important to consider. It’s not just what you’re posting, but what purpose the post has.
If the main content of your social media post is an image or animated GIF, it is essential to the meaning and purpose of the post and requires alternative text. For example, a photo or animation of a dean presenting an award to a student is essential to convey how the award was presented to a student and, therefore, requires alternative text.
If the image or GIF is purely decorative, alternative text is not necessary. For example, a post that details the dates and times of Independence Day firework shows around the city includes an animated GIF of fireworks. The fireworks GIF is used to complement the main content—the copy—and provides no essential information, so it does not require alternative text.
Images used in social media advertising—like other decorative visual elements—do not require alternative text. These images complement the primary content—the copy and message of the ad—and are considered decorative elements that exist only to attract attention.
On a medium such as Instagram where the sole purpose is to showcase photography, images are the primary content and require alternative text and/or an image description. Find out more about Instagram accessibility.
All videos either need closed captioning embedded within the video or they need to be accompanied by a full transcript of what is said in the video. Some platforms, such as Facebook, allow you to upload an SRT file or automatically create captions (which you'll need to edit for accuracy). Learn about video requirements.
All audio files need to be accompanied by a transcript. This could be the video transcribed in the post or a link to a Google Doc with the transcription.
A link on Facebook or Twitter, for instance, populates a card with an image, headline and description text. This type of post does not need additional accessibility features because the linked website should already be in line with accessibility standards.
Snapchat and Instagram Stories
- Don’t include text in your uploaded graphics; only use in-app text.
- Note: We are aware Titillium, the university's brand font, is not an option in Instagram Stories or Snapchat, and that’s OK!
- Keep videos short and caption everything that is said using the text tool.