The majority of the textual content on social media platforms can be accessed by screen reader technology. This is largely because Facebook and Twitter have fairly accessible platforms that have been continually improving, including featuring their own shortcut keys to improve user experience for screen reader users.
However, some accessibility features, such as Facebook’s automatic alternative text feature, remain problematic because most images do not register well with their algorithms. File names should be formatted usefully/descriptively if uploading photos, and any filename or alternative text already attached on photos from their original sources may be read aloud.
Guidelines on Accessible Social Media Authoring
Follow the guidelines below to support accessible authoring on Facebook and Twitter.
- Twitter has a feature called compose image descriptions that allows users to add alternative text to images that they upload; this feature should be turned on in the accessibility settings.
- Ensure that video content that is posted or tweeted is properly captioned, ideally with a transcript available from the original poster or source.
- Avoid using videos that only play music and show visual content, unless the original source provides audio description or you are willing to add a form of audio description to the post content.
- To provide the most user-friendly Facebook experience for visually impaired users, and to draw additional focus to the most important features of the content for all users, take the extra step to proactively caption images within the post space itself.