Inclusive Design for Social Media: Tips for Creating Accessible Channels

Creator: Hootsuite

Date Updated: August 19, 2022

The Hootsuite Blog presents guidelines to make your social media posts accessible. Making sure that your social media is accessible will create an inclusive environment and reach a larger audience.

Quick Facts

The inclusive design increases the number of people who can access your social media. Making it accessible means that all can access your content. To create accessible social media, you need to recognize the needs of your followers, how your followers can be excluded from accessing your content, and provide the information in the most straightforward way possible.

How to create accessible and inclusive social media posts:

  • If your posts have text, make sure it’s clear!
    • Avoid jargon and technical terms;
    • Use camel case for your hashtags (e.g. #ThisIsCamelCase) and add them at the end of your post;
    • Limit the number of emojis;
    • Use informative text for hyperlinks (e.g., not “Click here”);
    • Use a larger font size if possible;
    • And ensure that your posts have inclusive language (e.g., avoid terminologies like “normal” or other ableist languages.”
  • If your post has images or gifs, describe them using alt-text!
  • To create informative and well-structured alt-text, you should:
    • Describe the content of the image. For example, “An image of a cat” is not adequate alt-text. Consider what the cat is doing in the picture (sitting, jumping, sleeping, etc.), what the cat looks like, and other information like the background of the image and the colours used in the composition.
    • Do not start alt text with “An image” or “A graphic.”
    • If it’s a funny image, share the humour in the alt-text.
    • If there is text in the image, write out the text in the alt-text.
  • If your post has a video, add captions and video descriptions!
    • These make your content accessible for people with hearing disabilities.
    • Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter have automatic closed captioning available. However, we suggest going in and editing these captions manually if possible.
    • Adding video descriptions that describe the actions, sights, and sounds in the video that are not spoken.
  • If your post uses different colours, make sure they don’t interfere with your message!
    • Make sure that the colour contrast of your posts is at least 4.5:1 (e.g., the contrast between the text and background).
    • Don’t use colour to convey meaning only (e.g., if the links in your post are identified only by being a different colour and not underlined.

Visit Inclusive Design for Social Media: Tips for Creating Accessible Channels

References

Hootsuite (October 15, 2020). Inclusive Design for Social Media: Tips for Creating Accessible Channels. Blog post. Accessed March 21, 2022. Retrieved from: https://blog.hootsuite.com/inclusive-design-social-media/

Facebook Help Center (n.d.). How do I edit the alternative text for a photo on Facebook?. Help article. Accessed March 21, 2022. Retrieved from: https://www.facebook.com/help/214124458607871?helpref=search&sr=2&query=alt%20text

Instagram Help Center (n.d.). How do I edit the alternative text for a photo on Instagram?. Help article. Accessed March 21, 2022. Retrieved from: https://help.instagram.com/503708446705527

LinkedIn Help (December 2021). Adding Alternative Text to Images for Accessibility. Help article. Accessed March 21, 2022. Retrieved from: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/a519856/adding-alternative-text-to-images-for-accessibility?lang=en

Twitter Help Center (n.d.). How to make images accessible for people. Help article. Accessed March 21, 2022. Retrieved from: https://help.twitter.com/en/using-twitter/picture-descriptions

Vox Product (n.d.) Accessibility Guidelines: The Checklist. Web page. Accessed March 21, 2022. Retrieved from: http://accessibility.voxmedia.com/

WebAIM (October 19, 2021). Alternative Text. Web page. Accessed March 21, 2022. Retrieved from: https://webaim.org/techniques/alttext/#basics

Word Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (June 5, 2018). Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. Web page. Accessed March 21, 2022. Retrieved from: https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/