Inclusive Social Media

Access to inclusive social media is more important than ever as more people are finding out about things to do online while restrictions are in place due to the pandemic. With the vast number of social media channels now in use there is so much that is new for us all and it is ever-changing! But where possible bear in mind these key accessibility actions to make your social media content more inclusive. If you have any tips that we haven’t shared, feel free to start a thread on the forum. It’s a great way to find out what is working well and what can be improved at this uncertain time. 

Language – Use language that is welcoming and specific ‘everyone is welcome’ isn’t really enough information. A great phrase is ‘we welcome all children/all adults/all families/anyone interested in …. and will be happy to work with you to make participation possible, especially if you have felt excluded before. 

Imagery  – Pick photos or illustrations that show a diverse range of people taking part in a way that is equal and inclusive. Try and reflect the inclusive community you have or are wanting to build. The best source of images is your own participants so build in asking for photo permission into your membership processes.  

Images – Visually Impaired social media users often have screen reader technology which allows them to access all written content by reading it out loud. This technology cannot ‘read’ photos or images. Instead, most social media channels and websites have ‘alt text’ facilities which enable you to add a short description of the image for the screen reader to read out. 
It is important to note, if you design an eye-catching poster that is full of vital information about your activities and you share this as an image file, it will not be accessible to visually impaired users. So always add the details into the text of your post or note that ‘full details are in the comments’ and then make sure the first comment is the full text version. 

Film – If you are sharing a series of images in a short film consider adding a voice over that describes what is being shown or produce a text version. If you are filming and spoken piece and the background or setting is important then give a short description of where you are and what can be seen around you. 

Sound – Deaf or hard of hearing people need captions on videos in order to follow what is being said. Facebook can add captions to a live event AFTER it happens, so consider if there is another way to provide captions during any live streams. Most video streaming sites all have both auto-captioning and the facility to add your own. Auto-captioning is rarely accurate so it is always worth adding your own, or amending the auto version if you can. 

Contact info – Include your contact details and an invitation to get in touch. This lets people know they can make contact beforehand and you want to hear from them. Try and offer two or three ways to communicate ensuring not all of them are visual or auditory only eg. Telephone, text, email, video call etc.