Charity social media is about bringing people together. But you can’t do that if you’re unintentionally excluding some of your audience
Over the past few years, charities have put significant focus on inclusive website design that accounts for a wide range of diversity among users and the barriers they might face when interacting with digital content.
These limitations fall broadly into three categories – permanent (like when someone has a disability, visual or cognitive impairment), temporary (such as when someone is recovering from a stroke or has an ear infection) and situational (for instance, someone interacting with content whilst holding a baby, in a very loud place or somewhere where they aren’t safe to play content out loud).
Accessibility encompasses a wide range of different audience challenges. And for many organisations, ensuring that everyone has equal access to their information and content is a vital part of their mission.
But accessibility goes far beyond just your website. It is also crucial to reaching new audiences and building relationships with diverse groups of supporters and advocates. Has your charity thought about the content you’re putting out on social media platforms?
Here are some quick social media best practice tips and accessibility features to get you started.
This is probably the first you should do to make your social content more accessible. Explore the settings of the platforms you’re on and enable any accessibility features, as some may not be turned on by default. In Twitter, for example, you have to dig for it in ’Settings and Privacy’ > ’Accessibility’. Take the time to familiarise yourself with them, and with the latest accessibility updates from the platforms you use.
Screen reading software is commonly used by visually impaired and blind people to speak aloud text. There are a few tweaks for making social media text a lot more legible screen readers that you should know:
Keeping text clear and simple not only assists screen readers but it also greatly helps users like new language learners and those with a cognitive impairment such as dyslexia.
Consider people with visual and cognitive impairments when creating images for your social media content. Again, this is also hugely important for screen-reading technology, but it can be equally as helpful to people who have trouble processing image content.
Social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook, and now finally Instagram, let you add ’alt text’ to images. This is a description of the image that comes up when a user hovers their mouse over it, or a screen reader picks it up. Make sure you’ve included alt text and that it conveys the needed information in your images.
When conveying information in a chart, graph or diagram, be aware of your use of colour. Don’t rely on colours for meaning, but instead use other clues like text labels. There are estimated to be about 300 million people in the world with some form of colour blindness!
For users with hearing impairments (about 1 in 6 people in the UK), this is absolutely crucial, but it can also enhance the experience for other viewers and make content easier to digest in all situations.