How accessible are your social posts, blogs, or website content? Social media accessibility is important to consider for both brands and influencers. Creating inclusive content is always the goal, but you might be making choices that keep people with disabilities from engaging with your brand and content.
How to improve your social media accessibility
To make sure you’re creating inclusive content, here are some tips to improve accessibility and disability language on your site, blog, and social channels:
Mention a disability only when relevant
When is it necessary to mention a person’s disability? If the person’s disability is relevant to the message, you can mention it. If not, there’s no need to point it out.
For instance, if your brand collaborates with a person with limited vision to review a product with Braille, the person’s disability is relevant.
If you’re running a back-to-school influencer campaign to promote school supplies and one of five influencers in the sponsored ad uses a wheelchair, there’s no need to point that out. The influencer’s disability isn’t relevant to the use of school supplies.
Use person-first language
If you’re talking about a person with a disability, put emphasis on the person first. Rather than referring to a follower or a customer as a “blind woman,” for example, you should say, “a woman who’s blind.”
When you say “blind woman,” you mention the disability first. When you say, “a woman who’s blind,” you put the person first.
Avoid well-intentioned descriptions
There was a time when descriptions like “handi-abled” or “challenged” were used in everyday language. Today, it’s best to avoid these descriptors. These euphemisms make it seem like you’re afraid to talk about disabilities and almost make them seem taboo.
This also includes referring to people with disability as victims, or the other extreme, as superheroes. Saying someone “suffers” from a disability or “is plagued with” a certain condition alters a reader’s impression, making them victims instead of humans.
Using words like “inspirational” or “overcoming insurmountable odds” can also be damaging. People with disabilities are people first, not victims and not superhumans.
Structure content for accessibility
Wherever there’s text, be it on your home page or a blog post, there are certain measures you can take to make it readable for everyone, like:
- Use subheads to create a logical flow and structure.
- Use a legible font with sizes no smaller than 16.
- Don’t overuse all-caps as it’s hard to read.
- Pay attention to contrast, making sure your site is readable.
- Add image alt text to aid those who can’t see the image.
- Write short, clear sentences to help those with cognitive disabilities understand it.
- Avoid using symbols or excessive emojis.
- Use descriptive CTAs like Sign Up or Try it For Free as opposed to more generic phrases like Learn More
Do you add captions to your videos? Most brands include captions on their videos, but not necessarily to aid those with disabilities. Since many people keep their phones on silent, captions are necessary to communicate a video’s point.
However, people with hearing disabilities need captions. They can read the captions to see what the video is all about. This is especially true for videos shared on social.
There are tools that can auto-generate captions for your videos like MixCaptions and Amara.
When in doubt, ask
In your efforts to be more inclusive, it’s 100% okay to ask questions. People with disabilities would much rather be involved in a conversation than have decisions made for them.
If you’re writing an article about a new product that aids people with disabilities, ask a person with disabilities to review it. Ask questions about proper language and try to learn best practices from the source.
If you are featuring an influencer with a disability in your content, ask the person how they would like to refer to the disability.
Use tools to help you
Whether you’re a marketer or an influencer, there are some tools that can help you improve accessibility, including:
- AXE Google Chrome Extension: Review your site and spot accessibility issues.
- Contrast checker: See if the colors of your site or social post are readable.
- ColorSafe: Find color palettes that are approved in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
- WebAIM: Stay on top of trends by reading news and articles focused on those with disabilities.
- Color Contrast Checker: Automatically check all elements of a website for sufficient contrast and detect broken elements on subpages. No registration required.
Brands and influencers alike work hard to reach their audience, but it’s important to remember that part of your audience includes people with disabilities. When you create your next influencer campaign or social post, take the time to access your process and create inclusive content.