Social media accessibility has been gaining elevated consideration prior to now few years. Thanks partially to some current product releases by Twitter and TikTok, it’s now not a distinct segment subject. It’s now a observe that each one social media entrepreneurs ought to educate themselves on.

On this article, we’ll clarify why accessibility is necessary on social media, the limitations customers with disabilities might face on social media, and a few finest practices for designing inclusive social media content material for all customers.

What is inclusive design?

Inclusive design in social media refers to designing social media platforms, features, and content to ensure that all users, regardless of their background or abilities, can participate fully and engage on social media.

Inclusive design considers different users’ diverse needs and experiences when creating content. This can include designing for users with disabilities, different languages or cultural backgrounds, or other unique needs.

Following inclusive design principles makes your neighborhood a extra welcoming and inclusive area.

Why accessibility issues for social media

Regardless of its many advantages, social media generally is a supply of frustration for customers with disabilities or distinctive wants. Inaccessible social media content material can forestall these customers from participating with the world of social. They might be shut out of conversations or unable to entry vital info.

At the very least one billion people — 15% of the world’s inhabitants — expertise some type of incapacity. That determine will increase considerably when additionally contemplating momentary and situational disabilities.

The World Health Organization estimates 33% of the worldwide inhabitants has a listening to or sight impairment. Since customers primarily eat social content material by means of audio and visuals, accessibility in social media is essential.

Typically, accessibility is required by regulation. Nations, together with the US, Canada, and the UK, have legal guidelines such because the People with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) which require that web sites and digital content material be accessible to customers with disabilities.

Plus, accessible content material can attain extra folks and be extra participating. That’s what social media entrepreneurs care about most, proper?

A Verizon research discovered that 83% of US users watch content material with pontificate. Chatterblast discovered that 77% of conversions occurred on movies with pontificate. So, creating accessible content material actually advantages us all.

7 inclusive design ideas for social media managers

1. At all times add alt textual content

Descriptive captions and different textual content (also called alt textual content) permit folks to visualise pictures after they can’t see them. It’s necessary so as to add alt textual content, as accessibility instruments learn them to explain pictures for customers. Leaving it clean will trigger a display screen reader to announce it as “picture,” making a poor expertise.

A number of social media platforms use object recognition know-how to generate automated alt textual content. Nevertheless, these captions are sometimes obscure or restricted, so including a customized description is all the time higher.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn present particular fields so as to add alt textual content for pictures and GIFs (you can also add alt text with Hootsuite). If including or modifying alt textual content is not possible, embody descriptive phrases within the publish copy.

image description option

Suggestions for creating good alt textual content:

  • Describe what’s really within the picture. Dangerous instance: “Picture of bar chart.” Good instance: “A bar chart exhibiting a constant year-over-year enhance within the S&P 500 index.”
  • Skip saying “picture of” or “picture of.” The Royal National Institute of Blind People says most display screen readers favor you don’t.
  • Embody humor. Alt textual content doesn’t should be overly formal and will clarify any jokes or subtleties conveyed within the visible.
  • Transcribe textual content. If the picture has copy that’s central to its which means, embody it within the description.
  • Don’t overlook GIFs. On Twitter, you possibly can add alt text for GIFs. If the platform doesn’t help alt textual content for GIFs, embody an outline within the copy.
  • Be concise. It usually takes longer to relate alt textual content than to learn it, so maintain that in thoughts when writing descriptions.

A observe about SEO on social media: Whereas alt textual content doesn’t essentially impression search engine rankings, it does enhance search rankings inside social media apps. Nevertheless, you must all the time prioritize writing a transparent and detailed description first. search engine optimisation is a secondary profit, not the first function of alt textual content.

One final tip: Don’t misuse alt textual content for functions aside from describing a picture. Alt textual content fields shouldn’t be used to cover info easter eggs, be witty, or create memes. Customers who want alt textual content essentially the most won’t perceive this context — save the jokes in your captions.

2. Video captions

Including captions or subtitles to movies is essential for customers with listening to challenges. Additionally they improve the viewing expertise for customers watching in a non-native language or sound-off environments.

There are two sorts of captions: closed and open. Customers can flip closed captions on or off, and they’re added natively inside social platforms (normally as a .srt file). Open captions are “burned in” when creating the video.

Closed captions are most popular for accessibility, however open captions can be utilized if closed isn’t accessible or if a model has a strict design type to use to their captions.


If you add each open and closed captioning to your video 🥲 #cc #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner #coda #opencaption #closedcaption

♬ Pieces (Solo Piano Version) – Danilo Stankovic

Right here’s add captions on every platform:

Tip: Hootsuite permits you to add .srt recordsdata in Compose, making including closed captions to your movies simple.


working from house in type 😎 #wfh #smm #socialmediamanager #corporatemillennial

♬ original sound – Hootsuite

This TikTok video reveals what auto-generated closed captions appear like on TikTok. Word: the captions solely seem within the TikTok app, not on desktop.

3. Write accessible textual content

Prioritizing readability in your writing makes textual content extra accessible and comprehensible. And that advantages everybody, no matter their challenges.

When writing publish copy, take into account the studying expertise for others. How will it impression customers utilizing accessibility instruments like display screen readers? What about customers studying English as a second language or customers with studying disabilities?

Listed below are some inclusive design ideas for textual content:

  • Write in plain language. Write copy {that a} person can perceive the primary time they learn or hear it.
  • No fancy fonts. Whereas these could also be tempting so as to add emphasis, they’re illegible for display screen readers.
  • Use abbreviations rigorously. Abbreviations can be confusing to some readers. To keep away from inflicting instruments to learn abbreviations as one phrase, add intervals or areas in between (like t.h.i.s.).
  • nO aLtErNaTiNg cApS or ALL CAPS. This reads as gibberish for display screen readers. Keep away from utilizing all caps the place doable, as display screen readers can’t perceive the context of why.
  • Don’t exchange letters with aster*sks. This interrupts the move for display screen readers.
  • Write hashtags in Pascal Case. This implies capitalizing the primary letter of each phrase in your hashtag, which permits display screen readers to learn them correctly. Instance: #MyBrandCampaignHashtag. You can too use Camel Case — it’s comparable, however you don’t capitalize the primary phrase in your hashtag (ex., #myBrandCampaignHashtag).
  • Don’t insert hashtags inline. Add hashtags on the finish of a publish caption, not in the course of a sentence, as that creates interruptions for display screen readers.
  • Put blocks of hashtags in a separate remark. Large teams of hashtags aren’t nice for accessibility, however in the event you should use them, add them by way of a separate remark slightly than on the finish of your major caption.
  • Use inclusive language. Keep away from ableist language, use gender-neutral pronouns and phrases, share various voices and emojis, and scrutinize your textual content for assumptions and restricted factors of view.

This can be a nice instance from Canyon bikes that makes use of a descriptive caption, Pascal Case hashtags, restricted emojis, and separates hashtags from the publish copy.

4. Create accessible visuals

Identical to textual content, social media visuals also can current accessibility challenges. Customers with imaginative and prescient impairments rely closely on instruments like display screen readers to navigate the web and perceive visible info.

Fortuitously, there are lots of simple methods during which visuals will be made accessible and inclusive for all.

Observe these tricks to create accessible visuals:

  • Test your coloration distinction. When inserting textual content on a background, the WCAG recommends a distinction of at the very least 4.5:1. You need to use free instruments like this color contrast analyzer to verify your colours. Keep away from inserting textual content on pictures, which will be arduous to learn.
  • Don’t rely on coloration to convey which means. Colours will be arduous to discern for folks with imaginative and prescient impairments, together with colorblindness, so that you shouldn’t depend on coloration alone to speak one thing. As an alternative of counting on coloration alone, mix it with symbols, patterns, or labels.
  • When sharing animated pictures, keep away from ones with flashing or extreme motion. Movement can set off epilepsy, migraines, and different points for folks with vestibular situations. If you happen to can, keep away from posting GIFs or different animated pictures with extreme motion.
  • Don’t add extreme textual content to photographs. If you wish to share a big textual content block, put it within the publish caption. This permits customers to vary the scale, coloration, and language to swimsuit their wants.

dos and don'ts to create accessible visuals

Supply: Facebook Design

5. Memes and emojis

Emojis and memes are engrained into the material of the web and social media. Sadly, they aren’t 100% accessible and inclusive for everybody.

For instance, if a model makes use of an emoji to convey one thing completely different than its literal which means, this context could also be misplaced when interpreted by means of assistive instruments like display screen readers.

Memes will be even worse. Typically, they’re created as textual content overlays on pictures. Even when the meme contains alt textual content, it could be arduous to explain the punchline by means of textual content alone.

Listed below are some tricks to make your memes and emojis accessible:

  • Don’t use emojis as bullet factors: Display screen readers learn every emoji’s alt textual content aloud. This makes it longer to learn the listing and dangers muddling readability.
  • Describe content material and context: When including alt textual content to memes, be as descriptive as doable of the content material and context, then clarify the joke or humor.
  • Keep away from ASCII artwork/memes: These are a few of the worst accessibility offenders. As you possibly can think about, it may be very complicated when text-to-speech instruments narrate multi-line ASCII artwork like this to customers. If you wish to take part within the development, share the ASCII artwork as a picture as an alternative and describe it by way of alt textual content.
  • Place emojis on the finish of sentences: Don’t add emojis in the course of a sentence, as that is disruptive when being learn by assistive instruments. As an alternative, put them on the finish of a sentence or caption.
  • Not more than 3 emojis per social media publish: Extreme emojis will be disruptive and complicated for customers utilizing display screen readers. As a rule, don’t use greater than three emojis in a publish.
  • Don’t repeat greater than 3 emojis in a row: Repeated emojis will be time-consuming when narrated by text-to-speech instruments. Additionally they might not perceive why an emoji is repeated, so keep away from it when doable.

As proven on this instance from Domino’s, it may be tempting for manufacturers to take part in developments. Nevertheless, this tweet can be troublesome for assistive instruments to interpret appropriately as a result of emojis and ASCII symbols.

6. Keep updated on platform accessibility options

Excellent news: Accessibility has develop into an even bigger precedence for a lot of social media platforms lately. Twitter and TikTok have led the way in which in launching accessibility enhancements and new options. These embody alt textual content and auto-generated captions.

It’s necessary to be conversant in every platform’s accessibility options and sources. We’ve listed hyperlinks to study extra under.

Fb & Instagram:






Different sources:

And at last, some accessibility specialists to comply with:

7. Embrace suggestions

Nobody expects all social media entrepreneurs to be accessibility specialists. As an alternative, do your finest to remain knowledgeable (by means of articles like this), and in the event you occur to make an accessibility mistake, settle for suggestions and study from it for the long run.

Right here’s a private instance.

After I was on the lookout for a designer to enhance a visible I’d created, I shared it in a gaggle and used the phrase “lame” to explain it. A member commented that “lame” was an ableist time period and that I ought to use a unique phrase.

I didn’t like being publicly shamed, in fact. Nonetheless, I thanked the commenter for educating me, as I didn’t understand it wasn’t inclusive.

Companies ought to take the identical method. Keep away from getting defensive, apologize, personal the error, and don’t repeat it once more.

As a model, you possibly can sign your openness to suggestions in a number of methods:

  • Present clear contact particulars in your bio or bio hyperlinks
  • Preserve your DMs/inboxes open
  • If you happen to use a chatbot to answer to your messages, make it simple to succeed in a human
  • When replying to detrimental mentions or feedback, all the time preserve an expert tone

This can be a nice instance of how to reply to accessibility suggestions.

Social media accessibility instruments

Net Content material Accessibility Tips (WCAG) 2.1

W3’s recommendations set the trade requirements for accessible internet and social media experiences.

Vox Product Accessibility Tips

These tips present an interactive checklist for designers, editors, engineers and extra.

Readability Instruments

Test the readability of your copy with Hemmingway Editor or Readable. Intention for Grade 8 or decrease to adjust to WCAG requirements.

Thread Reader App

This Twitter bot unrolls threads on the platform so customers can learn them extra simply. To immediate the app, tag it and write “unroll” in reply to the thread you need to unroll.


Add captions mechanically to your Instagram Reels, TikTok movies, and different movies with CapCut.

Distinction App

Contrast is a Mac app that gives a WCAG-compliant distinction checker. The app permits designers to verify their distinction scores as they choose colours. Here’s a guide from the creators that simplifies WCAG requirements.

Distinction Checker

Contrast Checker allows you to drag and drop a selected picture for a distinction verify, which is an effective factor to do earlier than importing belongings to social media.

Colour Oracle

To make sure that you aren’t utilizing coloration alone to relay info, use the free color blindness simulator. The open-source software is obtainable for Home windows, Mac, and Linux.

Colour Secure

Use Color Safe in the event you need assistance discovering a coloration palette that gives sufficient distinction and adheres to WCAG Tips.

Textual content on Background Picture Accessibility Test

This text-over-image accessibility tool helps you identify how legible textual content relies on coloration distinction.


YouDescribe is a database of YouTube movies with descriptive audio created by volunteers. Copy and paste a YouTube URL into the search discipline and click on Create/Edit Descriptions to get began.

67 P.c Assortment

As part of its #SeeThe67 percent campaign, Refinery29 teamed up with Getty Pictures to supply pictures that includes plus-sized girls. See additionally the No Apologies Collection, a continuation of the collaboration. Dove additionally partnered with Getty to interrupt down magnificence stereotypes with the Show Us assortment.

The Gender Spectrum Assortment

Vice encourages media to go “past the binary” with this stock photo collection.

The Disrupt Growing old Assortment

Entry greater than 1,400 pictures that fight ageist biases in this collection created by AARP and Getty.


Aegisub is a free open-source software for creating and modifying subtitles. You can too use this software to create transcripts for movies.


Monitor your model mentions throughout social media and the net with Mentionlytics. This software is an effective option to present up and reply to questions and suggestions, whether or not you’ve been @-mentioned or not.

Lastly, I need to share two sources that I feel ought to be required studying for each social media marketer.

First, Accessible Social. This web site by Alexa Heinrich has up to date ideas and finest practices for making accessible social media content material.

I additionally like Creating Accessible Social Media Campaigns, a information by the UK Authorities Comms Workforce. It covers the whole lot from fonts to hashtags to hyperlinks.

Social media accessibility means recognizing exclusion, studying out of your followers, and presenting info within the clearest methods doable. And on the finish of the day, that’s simply good advertising and marketing.

Handle all of your social media channels from one dashboard utilizing Hootsuite. Simply schedule and publish your whole inclusively-designed social media posts, interact together with your followers, and observe the success of your efforts. Strive it free at present.

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With recordsdata from Katie Sehl.

Do it higher with Hootsuite, the all-in-one social media software. Keep up to the mark, develop, and beat the competitors.

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