Not including alt-text or an image description
- Add captions to photos to ensure that individuals will understand what is going on in the picture.
- The captions do not need to be very long, but they should describe what the scene is, and how elements of the image appear and provide context for the image.
When you’re writing your image description you’re going to want to think about context and equal access. That will inform what you’re actually including in your image description. If the post is centered around an event, perhaps it’s a flyer with text information about the event, make sure that information is also in a place where it is accessible to a screen reader (even better, consider not using the flyer image at all – posts with powerful photos result in higher engagement with audiences).
Sharing images with text on them, especially those with small text
Assistive technology cannot read text on images. It’s burned onto the image file like an iron on t-shirt and cannot differentiate the two. Small font is hard for many people to read, especially on mobile devices.
Color contrast, especially in stories on Instagram or Facebook
Check your color contrast in different lighting situations, like the outdoors in bright sunlight, and on different devices to ensure it’s legible everywhere.
Video without captions
Tone of voice is also important to note, particularly if not obvious from a person’s facial expression (or if the person’s face can’t be seen). A lot of meaning and information can get lost by certain viewers with hearing or cognitive impairments if they are not made aware of sounds, tone of voice, etc.; the way the meaning of spoken content is interpreted can completely change based on this information. Knowing that the background music is cheery, for example, helps signal that the producers mean for the scene to be viewed in a light way and can help shape viewers’ expectations for the kinds of things that will follow. Someone saying “I’m doing great” in a sarcastic tone clearly means something very different from someone saying it in a casual or light tone.
Reposting inaccessible content
Be mindful of the content you’re reposting too. If you’re retweeting a complex graphic or an image with text on it, check to see if an image description is provided. If not, can you repost the content yourself with an image description/alt-text and link to the source? Can you quote-tweet and link to an accessible version?
Acronyms are often confusing for an external audience and can often turn into “alphabet soup”.
If you questions about your social media content and whether it’s accessible, the social media team at UF Health is here to help! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach out to us directly.