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Communications and Public Affairs

Social Media Accessibility Guidelines

General

  • Please refer to the website alternative text guidelines for information about when to use alt text and when it’s okay not to.
  • For infographics or images with big chunks of written information contained in the picture, it’s simpler and neater to add a text alternative in the main text of the post instead of using alt text.
  • If you post an image that contains text, make sure the colors meet contrast requirements.
  • Avoid using acronyms, abbreviations and text messaging lingo. Screen readers will attempt to read these as a single word and it can be very confusing.
  • If you link to a video, make sure it has captions.
  • If you link to a PDF, make sure it is accessible. See the PDF Help Sheet for instructions to make PDFs accessible. 

 

Twitter

Images
  • Follow Twitter’s instructions for adding alt text (they call them “image descriptions”) to images.
  • If you retweet an image that doesn’t have alt text, make sure you include a description in the main text of your tweet. 
Text
  • Always put your main content first and put hashtags and @mentions at the end of a post. This is particularly important for those using screen readers. It can be hard to figure out what is being said when there are hashtags and @ signs in the middle of a sentence.
  • URLs get read out by screen readers. Use a URL shortener to minimize the number of characters in the URL.
  • Capitalize the first letter of each word in a hashtag. This is called camelbacking –  #ScreenReaderDemo instead of #screenreaderdemo. Screen readers will try to read the hashtag as one long word if it is all lowercase. When the first letter of each word is capitalized, screen readers know how to read the hashtag correctly.
  • When possible, indicate where a URL will take the user either in the main text of the tweet or before the URL with a label (e.g. [VIDEO], [AUDIO]).

 

Facebook

Images & Video
  • Edit the auto-generated alternative text for images using Facebook’s alt text instructions or leave it blank when appropriate.
  • Add a caption file or use YouTube’s captioning feature for Facebook videos. When using YouTube’s captioning feature, always review the captions for correctness, spelling and grammar, correcting them where needed.
  • If you share someone else’s image that doesn’t have alt text, make sure you include a description in the main text of your post.

 

Instagram

Images & Video
  • Edit Instagram's auto-generated alternative text using Instagram’s alt text instructions or leave it blank when appropriate.
  • Use the caption space to include quotes and context for short videos that don’t have much sound. For longer videos with lots of dialogue, add static captions to the video in a video editor before uploading it.
Text
  • Always put your main content first and put hashtags and @mentions at the end of the caption. This is particularly important for those using screen readers. It can be hard to figure out what is being said when there are hashtags and @ signs in the middle of a sentence.
  • Capitalize the first letter of each word in a hashtag. This is called camelbacking –  #ScreenReaderDemo instead of #screenreaderdemo. Screen readers will try to read the hashtag as one long word if it is all lowercase. When the first letter of each word is capitalized, screen readers know how to read the hashtag correctly.

 

LinkedIn

Images & Video
  • Add alt text to images by clicking the “Add alt text” link under the “Edit your Photo” dialog.
  • Add a caption file, or use YouTube’s captioning feature for videos. When using YouTube’s captioning feature, always review the captions for correctness, spelling and grammar, correcting them where needed.

 
TikTok

  • Use the caption space to include quotes and context for short videos that don’t have much sound. For longer videos with lots of dialogue, add static captions to the video in a video editor before uploading it.

 


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