Inclusive design for social media

John Chapman
Thursday 17 December 2020

Inclusive design is not just for websites.

Although not a requirement of WCAG 2.1 compliance standards, inclusive design must also be built into our social media channels. This allows everyone to have equal opportunities to view and engage with our content.

The digital communications team has been working to make the University website accessible; however, there is more we could be doing to make our social media channels accessible.

The Hootsuite article, ‘Inclusive Design for Social Media: Tips for Creating Accessible Channels‘ by Katie Sehl provides detailed information about how to make social media accessible for all. Below I have also outlined 10 ways we could improve our social media channels:

  1. All our social media posts should be written in plain English. We should avoid jargon, technical terms and unnecessary capital letters.
  2. Hashtags should be kept to a minimum and used towards the end of a post. Multiword hashtags should be written in camel case, for example, use #EverToExcel instead of #evertoexcel.
  3. Descriptive alt text should be included with all images shared on social media. It is possible to add alt text directly through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or through Hootsuite, our social media management tool.
  4. Video captions should be available on all videos. Captions benefit all users, not just those deaf or hard of hearing. Most channels now auto-generate captions, but you can also upload your own. See more guidance on creating captions.
  5. Video descriptions are a helpful way to provide additional information to those who are blind or have visual impairments. Video descriptions can either be narrated or provided through a descriptive transcript.
  6. Any graphic shared should have a colour contrast of at least 4.5 to 1 as recommended by WCAG.
  7. A solid background should be used to display any text on an image or graphic.
  8. Colour should not be used to convey meaning on graphics as different people interpret colour differently. People with colourblindness can also find it difficult to interpret colours.
  9. Inclusion is more than accessibility – equal representation also forms inclusion. Our social media channels should promote positive inclusion by sharing content that appeals to all demographics of our audience.
  10. Keep up to date with the latest inclusivity news and updates by following the dedicated social media accounts, Facebook Accessibility and Twitter Accessibility.

If you have any other suggestions of how we can make our social media channels accessible, please email socialmedia@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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