Social Media Accessibility Guidelines

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Main Page | Accessibility Toolkit | Social Media Accessibility Guidelines

Contributor Info
Reference Groups Accessibility

The Accessibility Reference Group will be managing the development of content for this section and will be a point of contact for questions or help.

Disability Symbols. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons [1]


Contents

Introduction

This section is part of the Emergency 2.0 Wiki Accessibility Toolkit developed to empower people with disabilities to use social media for disaster preparedness, response and recovery. This toolkit was developed in response to the fact that not all people with a disability are able to access life saving messages delivered through social media due to the accessibility challenges that the tools currently pose.

These social media accessibility guidelines are provided to assist the emergency sector, government, community, media and business to make social media messages more accessible.

Please note that social media should be used as part of a multi-channel communication approach in addition to the radio, TV, internet, and other communication such as SMS messages.

Create social media accessibility tips and resources for people with disabilities

It is recommended that agencies create their own 'social media accessibility tips' on their own sites which include information on or links to the following resources for people with disabilities:

Twitter

Twitter is very inaccessible for assistive technology users. Agencies are encouraged to provide advice on the following options that have assisted people in navigating around these issues:

  • Easy Chirp: an alternative Twitter portal at Easy Chirp
  • Twitter Help Center: a good resource for using Twitter.
  • Mobile apps: there are a wealth of accessible Twitter-related mobile apps on iOS-based devices such as the iPhone and the iPad. Apps include the main Twitter app, Twitterrific, Twittelator for iPad, Tweetosaurus, Tweetero and TweetList Pro.
  • Disability-related support: many disability groups and users of assistive technology use Twitter and can be contacted by sending tweets for additional community help including Media Access Australia (@mediaaccessaus) and ACCAN (@accan_au).

See also:


Facebook

Adding a caption to Facebook photos

For people who are blind or vision impaired, adding a caption to a photo will enable screen readers to read out information about the photo. To add a caption:

  1. Go to your Home page.
  2. Select the ‘Photo’ option.
  3. Select the album that has the photos you wish to add captions to.
  4. While viewing a photo, select the ‘Add a caption’ option located beneath the photo.
  5. Enter the text you wish to use to describe the photo in the box provided.
  6. Select the ‘Save’ button.

Caption support for Facebook video

Unfortunately there is no support for captions when videos are uploaded to Facebook. People who are Deaf or hearing impaired have suggested that if you want to share a video, upload it to YouTube and caption it there, then put the link to the clip on your Wall. The video will then embed with the ‘cc’ icon highlighted in red.

See also:

YouTube

Requesting autocaptioning for your YouTube video

YouTube has the ability to automatically caption videos that contain English using its own speech recognition software. While the captions may not be entirely accurate, it can save a lot of time and the file that contains the captions can be downloaded for editing.

To request YouTube to caption your video:

  1. Sign into your YouTube account.
  2. Upload your YouTube video.
  3. In the Captions and Subtitles pane, select the ‘Request Processing’ option.
  4. Periodically check to see if the captions have been added. The process generally takes 24 hours but may take longer.

Downloading YouTube captions for further editing

Once your YouTube video has captions, you may wish to download the captions and use an editor to tidy them up.

To download the captions:

  1. Sign into your YouTube account.
  2. In the Captions and Subtitles pane, look for the track you wish to download. If you have used automated captions, it

may be called ‘English: Machine Transcription’. Select the Download button next to that track.

  1. A file called ‘captions.sbv’ will be downloaded and saved to your device. This is a text file that contains the captions and timecode information which can be used in other captioning software.

Creating or editing captions for YouTube video

If you wish to create captions for your video from scratch, or you would like to edit your existing YouTube captions, there are a number of free tools which can help:

  • Overstream: a popular webbased captioning tool
  • CaptionTube: a web-based captioning tool designed specifically for YouTube
  • MAGpie: a free Windows application from the National Center For Accessible Media

Tutorials and resources for Overstream, CaptionTube and MAGpie:

Uploading captions to YouTube

To upload a caption file to your video:

  1. Sign into your YouTube account.
  2. In the Captions and Subtitles pane, select the ‘Add captions’ option.
  3. Select the ‘browse’ option and locate the captioned file.
  4. Select ‘Upload File’.

See also:

Blogging tools

Choose a simple blog template

Most blogging tools provide a number of different templates to make your blog look unique. Consider using a template that only has one column with a simple layout. This will be helpful for people using assistive technologies to access your blog.

Choose your font carefully

There are often many different fonts to choose from. Consider using a sansserif font like Arial and make the font a standard size. If you have the ability to choose how the font is represented in HTML code, select a font size that is variable like ‘em’ rather than a fixed font size like points or pixels.

Open links in the same window

A common accessibility issue faced by bloggers is making a link that opens in a new window. Bloggers often prefer this option as it opens a new website while still keeping the blog on the screen. However, for people using assistive technologies a new window opening can make it very confusing. Allow users to go to your link without opening a new window as the user can always return to your blog using the ‘back’ button in their web browser.

Label links

When sharing a website link in your blog, make sure that the link is labelled with a description. Text such as ‘click here’ can make it difficult for people using screen readers to understand the nature of the link. A full description such as ‘the digital technology section on the Media Access Australia website’ will make it easier for people with disabilities visiting your blog to understand the nature of the content.

Describe your images using alternative text

In order to make sure that your images are accessible, add some alternative text to them. In many tools the user is prompted to enter some text about an image when an image is added, but for people using the Blogger tool in BlogSpot they will need to follow some additional instructions.

Provide a link to videos rather than embedding them

It is often difficult to embed a video in your blog and maintain the accessibility features of the video, such as captions. Embedded videos can also provide challenges to screen reader users who try to play videos using inaccessible controls. By providing a link to the video rather than embedding the video, users can go directly to a website that contains a potentially accessible version of the video. Examples include the accessible YouTube players and YouTube captioned video. Alternatively, if providing a link and embedding a video, provide the link first.

Adding captioned video from YouTube

See YouTube section.

Directing screen reader users to view videos through an accessible YouTube portal

See YouTube section.

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