Like many brands, accessibility must be at the forefront of our minds as we adopt new technologies and digital platforms. The accommodations we make are not the result of sacrifices to design or message, but rather they strengthen a brand’s ability to reach more potential consumers and followers.
Making sure your content is ADA Compliant is not just an extra step; it’s a requirement for meeting online web standards. Therefore, when it comes to one of the most reaching forms of marketing and consumer engagement, it only makes sense that brands should strive for an ADA Compliant social media presence as well.
Best Overall Practices for ADA Compliant Social Media
- Be sure that your business information is completely filled out for every social platform or business listing website where you have a presence. This puts your information where a user or screen-reading software in the first place they are most likely to check.
- Do not overcomplicate your content by using highly specific industry terms or uncommon words. Also, be careful not to over-explain or repeat yourself within your content.
- Include alternative text (Alt Text), closed captions, and transcripts when posting digital media files online. Rule of thumb: make sure all media can be understood without sound!
- Clean up the URLs you share online by using shorteners such as Bit.ly or Google URL Shortener. Instead of a long train of random numbers and letters, rewrite it to a short, memorable word or phrase.
- When using long hashtags, capitalize each word in the phrase. Screen-reading software will have an easier time knowing when one word ends and the next starts, making it easier to interpret.
ADA Compliance for Facebook
Facebook automatically assigns Alt Text to each picture you upload. However, you should check to make sure that the text is accurate. Do this by viewing an image on Facebook, choosing Options and then choosing Change Alt Text. Here you can see what Alt Text has been generated. If this text is not accurate, you have the option to override the generated alt text with your own.
You can also set the Alt Text for your images before posting. When you create a new Photo/Video post in your News Feed, choose Edit Photo and click on Alt Text.
ADA Compliance for Instagram
You can add Alt Text to images you’re posting to Instagram by going into the Advanced Settings before you share. For images, you’ve already posted, simply go to Edit your post and find Edit Alt Text in the lower right-hand corner.
Alternatively, including a thorough and detailed description with your posts can accomplish the same goal as adding Alt Text to your images.
ADA Compliance for Twitter
Twitter allows users to add descriptions to their images, making them more accessible to their followers. To do so, you must first go into your Settings, find Accessibility in the left sidebar, and then check the box next to Image Description. With that checked, whenever you create a new tweet, each image you add will feature an Add Description button.
Unfortunately, descriptions cannot be added or edited once a tweet has been posted. Marketers posting to Twitter should make a note to themselves to include Image Descriptions in their social media routine.
ADA Compliance for Youtube
Youtube’s automatic subtitles (a.k.a. closed captions) have often come under scrutiny for not meeting ADA Compliance standards. To ensure that the captions match your intended message, adding and editing your own subtitles is the safest route. You can do this by going the video you want to edit within your Video Studio and clicking on Transcriptions in the left sidebar.
Here you will be able to see the automatic subtitles that Youtube generated by clicking on the Published status under Subtitles. You can see how these subtitles line up with your video when played, edit each set of subtitles and then publish or unpublish any changes you make.
For videos uploaded before 2019, the process is a little different. You have the ability to Upload a File (usually a .srt or .sbv), Transcribe and Auto-Sync, or Create New subtitles or CC (similar to the process above).
Whether your brand is trying to reach new or existing audiences, promoting openings and opportunities for employment, or simply sharing an update, it is important that you put forth an attitude of inclusion. The inclusion of Alt Text, transcripts, and other ADA best practices goes a long way in boosting the search engine optimization (SEO) for your online presence, as it gives Google more information to consider when ranking your website.
Think your brand’s online presence is up to standards? Consider having an audit done on your online reputation and web design to get a better understanding of where your content can be optimized. BlaineTurner Advertising has a skilled team of web designers and PR professionals on staff, ready to help. Learn more by visiting our Web Design, SEO and Public Relations service pages.