There is definitely a small degree of pushback whenever I suggest to some social media professionals that they drop doing a certain thing from their social media tactics because it’s not accessible.
Oh, you’ve seen great engagement when you sprinkled at least five emoji throughout your post? Using Unicode characters from external websites really makes you stand out from your competition?
Great, good for you. I don’t actually give a f*ck. Accessibility isn’t here to solely support your social media strategy or whatever KPIs you set. Accessibility is here, first and foremost, to support people, specifically people who can’t otherwise access your content without it. Are there marketing advantages to creating accessible content? Of course, but that’s not the main goal here.
And if you can’t figure that out, then maybe you should unsubscribe from this newsletter.
PS: Sorry, I wrote this intro while hangry.
Digital Accessibility Win of the Week
This win may seem small, but it’s still important. Language plays an important part in how people understand new things, so it was great to see the Twitter Spaces team update the transcriptions label in the feature to what it actually is, captions.
This will hopefully help people understand that there is in fact a difference between captions and transcriptions just like there’s a difference between open and closed captions or alt text and audio descriptions.
Digital Accessibility Fail of the Week
I am admittedly so frustrated with the digital teams for the Biden-Harris administration. Sure, it’s great that the Twitter accounts for POTUS and the White House now actively use alt text, but what about the accounts for VP, FLOTUS, and Second Gentleman? What about the Twitter account dedicated to keeping the American people informed about the government’s COVID-19 response? Why isn’t accessibility a priority for these accounts as well? I shouldn’t be the one writing image descriptions for the U.S. government.
Jill Biden @FLOTUSLast week in Texas, the President and I saw the best of the American people. Watching everyone come together to support one another in times of crisis gave me so much hope. https://t.co/whjOiJWxTe
Vice President Kamala Harris @VPYesterday, the 50 millionth vaccination was administered since @POTUS and I took office. This is weeks ahead of schedule and we are going to continue making progress every day. So keep wearing a mask, keep social distancing, and get vaccinated when it’s your turn. https://t.co/8gQOfjTm8y
Have you recently spotted a major digital accessibility win or fail on social media? Send it to me! I might just feature it in my next newsletter. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can DM me on Twitter. My inbox is always open!
You Should Retweet This
A diverse and equitable workforce should be something that every organization strives for, and that means not only hiring disabled talent, but making sure people with disabilities feel comfortable and safe disclosing that information.
Word of Advice
I have bad news for everyone: those special Unicode characters you’ve been pasting from external websites aren’t accessible for everyone. You know the ones I’m talking about, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬. Or sometimes, 𝓽𝓱𝓮𝔂 𝓵𝓸𝓸𝓴 𝓵𝓲𝓴𝓮 𝓽𝓱𝓲𝓼.
I see them a lot on Instagram, but they’ve started making appearances on Twitter and Facebook, and they’re heavily present on Clubhouse. Sadly, these characters don’t always register as readable characters, and some assistive devices cannot read them.
Also, as a designer and typophile, I’m offended that anyone would use them as some sort of aesthetic boost anyway. They’re hideous. And just look at the kerning on that script typeface. TRAGIC. Please stop using them.
Looking for an easy way to double-check your social media content before posting it? Download my handy checklist and make sure you always have the basics of digital accessibility for social media covered!
One Last Thing
I’ll be presenting at the Call Two Action conference later this week on Saturday, March 6th, at 1:30 PM PST/4:30 PM EST. My session will go over accessibility best practices for social media and also include some hands-on learning demonstrations. Make sure to grab a ticket, and thank you to the wonderful people at Social Media Club LA for hosting this particular session!
Secrets, secrets are no fun unless you share with everyone! This logic also applies to newsletters and your Netflix login.