Social media posts broadcast to a large audience (i.e. individuals whose abilities or disabilities are unknown to you), so they should conform with all WCAG 2.0 requirements relevant to them. That is easier said than done depending on the social media platform as accessibility is not inherently built into each one. In general, your goal is to do the following:

The Alternative Text Challenge

The greatest challenge for most social media platforms is alternative text.

Graphic intensive platforms, like Facebook, may have strong support for closed captioning, since it encourages engagement, however, not all social media platforms have a separate field option for alternative text. You have to enter the description directly into the post (or each specific image) if you are not linking to another webpage or accessible document. Example:

Guest composer, Charles Fernandez and guest conductor Steve Piazza (Los Angeles Winds) will lead the Tarleton Wind Ensemble featuring the music of Charles Fernandez, at Tarleton State University’s Wind Ensemble Concert, on Thursday, April 20, 2017. More information and ticket sales:

Facebook developers have been working on improving the automated generation of alternative text for posted images to aid blind users. It takes from a database of known objects, defined by people like us (similar to their face recognition database when we tag our friends) who just add alternative text to an image.

Since using alternative text is not as common a habit as tagging friends in photos, this database is young and still not a good alternative for content we post in any platform. For example, if the screen reader views an image in Facebook, it could say something like:

Image may contain: house, plant, tree, table and outdoor

Facebook recently added a way for you to enter your own alternative text to an image you uploaded to Facebook’s desktop browser version.

Text only platforms, like Twitter, can connect to images inside or outside the platform. If you link to an image outside the platform, you have to somehow describe the image within their character limit and/or link to the longer description in a webpage or accessible document. This may also require indicating the file format before the link in your posts. Example:

[Pic] Balancing my life is complicated. #needacupojoe #makethehurtingstop Full description:

Content indicators:

  • Photos: [Pic]
  • Videos: [Video]
  • Audio: [Audio]

Twitter stands out here with their new Twitter image descriptions feature, however, you must enable it because it is not set to enabled by default.


Guides and How-To’s

Accessible Social Media Usage