In this series, Digital + Social Media Manager Becky shares tips on ensuring social media and digital content is accessible to everyone. See our Social Media Accessibility Checklist for a handy summary of tips.

The need to prioritise accessibility goes far beyond supporting those with vision and hearing disabilities. Around 15% of the world’s population experience disability. Disabilities can be visual, auditory, cognitive, behavioural, or physical, and may be permanent or temporary. All of these can impact the way someone experiences digital content, so it’s important to ensure that we take this into account when creating content.

In this article, we’ll dive into copy, and how we can ensure the text we write for social and digital media is clear and accessible.

FONTS + EMOJIS

Special/alternative characters or symbols (are treated as an image by screen readers. The descriptions of these characters can seem out of context when read aloud within regular copy. The use of special characters in copy is strongly discouraged for this reason.

Emojis can support your copy, making meaning more obvious or adding fun/emotion. However, emojis are also treated as an image by screen readers, meaning the description of the emoji is read out. While emojis can be appreciated by screen reader users, be careful about your frequency of use and where you place emojis within copy. Some general rules: ​

  • Use emojis at the end of a sentence ​
  • Do not use repeated or excessive emojis ​
  • Use emojis, not emoticons such as :), 😉 , XD etc. ​
  • Use emojis in addition to words; not in replacement of words ​
  • Use popular emojis that are widely recognised and translate across devices. ​

You can check how your posts might sound with emojis included by highlighting the text and using your computer’s speech functionality, or by using a screen reader simulator.

HASHTAGS

Always use #CamelCase! Screen readers will detect hashtags as one word if camel case is not used.

#ThisIsWrittenInCamelCase
#thisisnotwrittenincamelcase

  • Camel case is easier to read for everyone, not just those who are vision impaired. ​
  • As with emojis, limit your hashtag use and think about the context of your sentence/copy when read aloud. ​

You can check how your posts might sound with hashtags included by highlighting the text and using your computer’s speech functionality, or by using a screen reader simulator.

CLARITY

Jargon, slang, technical terms and acronyms can be confusing for a range of people. Reduce the use of these terms as much as possible unless it makes sense for your audience.​

Descriptive calls to action are also very useful for those using screen readers. “Click here” doesn’t give much context around where that link might take the user, while “Sign up here” or “donate now” are much more helpful. ​

Use shortened links where possible, to avoid screen reader users having to listen to long URLs. ​



   copywriting, accessibility, digital
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