How To Make Your Social Media Accessible for Screen Readers
You might already be adding alternative text to your photos, and closed captions to your videos, but did you know that there are more ways to make sure your social media posts are accessible? Here are three ways to ensure your social media pages are accessible to those who use screen readers!
Format Hashtags Correctly
Making your copy as clear for those who utilize an audio screen reader to assist them with reading text is crucial, as they rely on the capabilities of their software to interact with your content. One way to do this is to capitalize every word in your hashtags since many screen readers will blend lower-case letters when reading.
For example, the popular local hashtag #renoisrad will read as “re-noise-red.” Our client’s hashtag #therefugespa sounds like “there-few-ges-pa.” Turning these hashtags into #RenoIsRad and #TheRefugeSpa helps screen readers clearly pronounce them. In the same vein, you should refrain from all-caps hashtags as well.
Only Use In-App Fonts
Screen readers can not read fancy-generated fonts pasted into captions 𝓵𝓲𝓴𝓮 𝓽𝓱𝓲𝓼 or 𝖑𝖎𝖐𝖊 𝖙𝖍𝖎𝖘. Stick to only using the fonts provided by any social media platform you’re using, or your copy will be completely illegible for screen readers.
The same goes for alternative emojis that you can copy and paste from the internet. Symbols such as ★❋✧˚*༝ ⁺⋆｡°✩₊❉✿♡❀• or any other ASCII art are total gibberish for screen readers.
Use Emojis Sparingly
While it might be fun to add clapping 👏 emoji 👏 hands 👏 for 👏 emphasis, or feel whimsical to add emphasis like ✨this✨, it can be a nightmare for screen reader users to get through your copy. Each emoji has an alternative-text description, so every single emoji you use will break up the flow and comprehension of your text. Imagine having to hear “clapping hands” between each word in a sentence you’re trying to understand. Here are the best ways to use emojis for accessibility in your copy:
Only use emojis at the end of sentences to avoid breaking up reading with emoji alt-text descriptions.
Don’t use emojis as bullet points. This will make the beginnings of sentences confusing.
Only use three emojis per post. Excessive emojis can be confusing when trying to understand copy, sticking to three is a good rule of thumb.
Don’t repeat more than three emojis in a row. It breaks up getting through your copy way too much for screen readers. Nobody wants to listen to 💪 (flexed bicep) ten times before they can hear about your dumbbell curl routine.
Implementing accessibility practices makes an enjoyable and inclusive experience for everyone who visits your pages! You wouldn’t want someone to swipe away from your content because either their screen reader can’t understand your text at all or because you’ve filled it with symbols that make it hard to get through.