As a university committed to inclusivity, it’s important that our social media content takes accessibility into consideration. As well as helping those with accessibility needs, accessible content also helps present information in a clear way, ensuring all social media users have a great experience.
Make text as readable as possible on digital graphics
- All text used on social media graphics or images should be easy to read – write in short concise sentences and don’t use over-complicated language.
- Avoid adding too much text and ensure the text will be legible at the size it will be read (consider what it will look like on mobile as well as on a desktop computer). Social media graphics don’t need to include the University logo – all London Met-affiliated social media accounts carry the cosmos through each account’s profile picture (please see our guidance on setting up an account for more information) and this is visible even when other users share your post.
- Always use one of the University’s on-brand accessible colour combinations.
- Avoid using a busy image as a background and consider putting any text on a solid background to aid readability.
- Don’t overuse capital letters – all-capitals are more difficult to read than text that’s in sentence case. When used in the text of a post, all-capitals can also be misread by assistive technologies such as screen readers and may be read as individual letters as if they’re an acronym.
- Limit the use of emojis – emojis are read by assistive technologies such as screen readers so anyone using these types of technologies will be read wording that may not make sense in the context of the rest of the post. If using emojis, try to use them at the end of beginning or end of a post to avoid disrupting the meaning of the sentence. Screen readers will read out a description of every emoji that you use, so think about which emojis you’re using and how this will sound to a screen reader user. For example, if you put four apple emojis, a screen reader will read “apple apple apple apple".
Add image alt text where possible
Facebook and Twitter (and hopefully other platforms in the future) allow you to add alt text to any images you want to post. Image alt text should be an accurate description of what is in the image. You can find out more about what makes appropriate image alt text in our guidance on website accessibility in our web publishing code of practice (staff login only).
To add image alt text in Facebook, upload your photo, then click "edit photo" and write your description in the "alternative text" box. Then click save and you're ready to publish.
To add image alt text to feed posts, upload your photo, click next, then "advanced settings" and then "write alt text". Simply add your description and click done before sharing as normal. Unfortunately, Instagram Stories don't currently have the option to add image descriptions, so you can just write a description in your post.
You can add a separate description to an image on Twitter, saving you crucial time and characters. You need to activate the "image descriptions" feature, which you can find in "Twitter settings", under the "accessibility" tab. After that, just attach your image as normal and then click "alt" to add your description and post as normal.
Include captions on videos
All videos posted directly on social media platforms should have burnt-in captions (ie captions that automatically appear whenever the video is played). Captions not only help those with hearing impairments but also those whose first language isn’t English and anyone watching the video in an environment where they can’t or don’t want to play the sound.
Research has found that captioning videos also increases the view time of the video, meaning people engage more with a video with captions than one without.
YouTube can auto-generate captions for you, which can then be turned on and off by the user, but these auto-generated captions must be checked and amended before publishing.
Use CamelCase when adding hashtags
Capitalise each word within the hashtag. This allows it to be read clearly by a screen reader. For example #iwalkedtotheshops would be read as one word but #IWalkedToTheShops would be read individually. It’s also much easier to read and avoids any unfortunate/ or unintended word amalgamations.