Making your social media posts accessible

Stéphanie Krus
Nov 14 · 3 min read

To reach your audience, make sure everyone can access your posts.

colourful ceramic letters forming the words: Social Media
colourful ceramic letters forming the words: Social Media
Photo by Merakist - Unsplash

Alt text

All your pictures (including diagrams) should have an Alt text (alternative text) which will be read by a screen reader for users who can’t see them.

Here how to do this:

When you add a GIF, describe it [in square brackets]

If you are using HootSuite:

A good link to understand more about alt text and how to do a good one:

A longer guidance here:

Capitalise your Hashtags

Capitalising the first letter of each words on hashtags improves readability for screen reader users.

For example: #ThisIsHowtoFormatAnAccessibleHashtag

Caption your videos and multimedia

Advice from the Paciello group:

Emoji

Try not to use them too much. They are read aloud by screen readers. For example: 😃 would become “smiley face emoji”.

And don’t put them in your Twitter display name. In the tweet below, you can hear how a screen reader say the display name:

“Wheelchair symbol emoji — raised fist emoji — party popper Nicholas emoji — flag of Canada emoji — smiling face with smiling Steenhout at vavroom link”

Yeah … I think I would unfollow him 😄

Hashtags and mentions should go at the end

The symbols # and @ are said aloud by screen readers, so it makes it harder to understand your post. Add them after your text. It will be clearer.

Avoid Caps letters

It’s harder for everyone to read. The ‘shape’ of a word help us to identify it and this is lost with capitals. It can be misinterpreted by screen readers as well.

Also it makes you sounds like Trump. Just don’t.

More advice



As I write on Medium…

Recently, Medium finally gave the possibility to add alt texts to pictures in your stories. There are still a lot of accessibility issues to solve for Medium but this is a start I guess.

To provide an alt text for your photo

  • select the photo you’ve just added
  • a menu will appear at the top (first image below)
  • select ‘Alt Text’ in that menu
  • write the description (max 125 characters) and save (2nd image below)
  • don’t forget to credit the author under the photo where relevant
screenshot of a photo selected in a Medium story, showing at the top the menu where the option to add an alt text is
screenshot of a photo selected in a Medium story, showing at the top the menu where the option to add an alt text is
screenshot of an image on Medium in a story once you have selected the alt text option stating: write a brief description
screenshot of an image on Medium in a story once you have selected the alt text option stating: write a brief description

Feel free to add things I’ve missed in the comments below. Thank you!

Stéphanie Krus

Written by

Service Designer | Web Developer | Permaculture & Accessibility advocate | French in Scotland

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