A mobile phone and scrabble tiles that spell social media.

June 10, 2024, by Laura Nicholson

Unlocking Inclusive Social Media: Facts, Myths, and Accessibility Tips

(Reading time: 3m 57s)

As mentioned in last week’s blog post on PDF accessibility, we are dedicating our June posts to all things accessibility. Why? Well, because on Wednesday, June 26th, 2024, we are very excited to be holding our second Digital Accessibility Conference. Just a bit of an update too: registration for this free online event is now open!

Register for the Digital Accessibility Conference: Transforming the Culture.

So, onto this week’s focus, which is all about creating accessible social media content.

Why accessibility on social media matters

It’s not just about complying with legal requirements; it’s about inclusion and respect for all users. Although accessible content allows people with visual, auditory, cognitive, and motor disabilities to engage fully with your content, accessible practices benefit everyone. Features such as alt text help in low-bandwidth situations, and including captions is beneficial for people accessing your content in a noisy environment or just preferring to read content as opposed to watching it.

Facts and Myths about Social Media Accessibility

Fact: Accessible content broadens your audience.

Ensuring your content follows accessibility principles improves the user experience for everyone. Clear language, descriptive images, and accessible videos benefit not only those with disabilities but also, for example, non-native speakers and users with different learning preferences.People holding hands to show connectivity between people through online media.

Fact: Over a billion people worldwide have disabilities.

According to the World Health Organisation (2023), an estimated 1.3 billion people, or 16% of the global population, live with some form of disability. This number will also continue to grow because of an increase in noncommunicable diseases and people living longer. Consequently, making content accessible means you are reaching this significant portion of the global population, not to mention everyone else without a disability who will benefit too.

Myth: Making Content Accessible is Too Complicated and Time-Consuming

At first, it may seem a little daunting and overwhelming to start embedding accessibility principles into all of your content creation. However, many accessibility practices, such as adding alt text, captions, and ensuring good colour contrast, are simple to implement and will soon become a part of everyday practice. In terms of the latter, WebAim has a great, free, and easy-to-use colour contrast checker.

Myth: Accessible social media content looks unattractive.

Making content accessible can mean using images without lots of text on them, using easy-to-read fonts, and changing the original colours if there is insufficient contrast. Taking steps such as these doesn’t make content unattractive, and it is regretful that these bad habits ever developed in the first place. You can create vibrant and visually striking content, but if it is difficult to understand or navigate, it becomes worthless as the intended message is lost. Familiarising yourself with the four POUR principles is a good place to start when thinking about content design and demonstrates a commitment to being inclusive of all users. Once accessibility becomes part of the design process, it soon becomes apparent that accessibility and aesthetics are not mutually exclusive.

Tips for Making Social Media Content Accessible


Use clear and simple language. Avoiding the use of jargon and keeping sentences short will ensure your content can be understood by a broad audience.

Hashtag use: When using hashtags, capitalise the first letter of each word (also known as camel case). For example, use #WorldHealthDay instead of #Worldhealthday. Capitalising the first letter makes it easier for everyone to read, and it helps those using screen readers know when one word ends and another begins.

Text in images: As mentioned earlier, this is something to avoid. When you embed text in an image, it cannot be read by a screen reader. If you must use an image with text, then provide a caption underneath, which ensures the same information is available in the caption as in the image. That way, no one misses out. It is important to remember that screen readers are not just used by those with visual impairments; their use has increased to include people with other difficulties such as arthritis, migraines, or even just general fatigue.Various speech bubbles to duggest talking and commuication.


Use alternative (alt) text for images: Always add alt text to an image so the user is aware of the context of the image and its purpose for being included. It is fine to mark images as decorative if they provide no purpose and are purely there for aesthetic purposes, as this allows a screen reader to skip over them, allowing the user to focus on the key content.

Use captions and transcripts: Providing captions and transcripts to your videos helps those who are deaf or hard of hearing. It also benefits those who have a preference to read rather than watch content.

Music, image and gaming icons to represent multimedia. Interactive content

Accessible polls and surveys: If creating a poll, ensure all the options are easily selectable via a keyboard and are clearly labelled for those using screen readers.

Stories and Reels: These are often short-lived pieces of content that may be no longer visible after a day, but they still need to follow accessibility principles. So, ensure captions are included if necessary to avoid relying on just audio to convey information.

GIFs and animations: While these may have grown in popularity over the years, do try to use them sparingly as they can be distracting or problematic for people with visual or cognitive disabilities. If you do have to use them, providing a description or caption will provide an alternative option for those who wish to avoid viewing them.scrabble tiles spelling the word vote.

To conclude

Creating accessible social media content is a continuous and evolving practice that ensures all users can engage with and benefit from your posts. By following these tips, you can make your social media presence more inclusive, demonstrating your commitment to accessibility and reaching a wider, more diverse audience.


Inclusion and Accessibility Labs. (2022) Understanding the POUR Principles of Accessibility. Available at: https://ialabs.ie/understanding-the-pour-principles-of-accessibility/#:~:text=There%20are%20four%20main%20guiding,into%20these%20four%20main%20aspects. (Last accessed May 31st, 2024)

World Health Organisation. (2023) Disability. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/disability-and-health#:~:text=It%20results%20from%20the%20interaction,experience%20a%20significant%20disability%20today. (Last accessed May 31st, 2024)

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