Most social media platforms don’t let you add alt text, but you can and should describe what’s happening in the picture for all of your photo-based posts. Be thoughtful about how you write hyperlinks as well.
- In Twitter settings turn on alternative text for images
- With hyperlink tweets indicate whether it leads to [AUDIO], [PIC], OR [VIDEO]
- Use Twitter’s link shortening to minimize the number of characters in a hyperlink
- Mentions and hashtags should go at the end of a tweet
- Avoid using acronyms
- Capitalize the first letter of each word in a hashtag (#LoyolaUniversityMaryland vs. #loyolauniversitymaryland). It is easier for the eye to read with the first letter is capitalized.
As with other platforms, alt text is important to consider for images in Twitter. You can turn this feature on in Twitter settings:
Visit Twitter’s accessibility site
- Navigate to "Settings", then "Display and sound", then "Accessibility"
- Turn on "Compose Image Descriptions".
- After this is turned on, when you post a picture you’ll see an option to “Add a description for the visually impaired.” This is particularly important when the image that is tweeted is an image of text.
for more details on alt text and Twitter. For more details on formatting Tweets with accessibility in mind, visit the University of Minnesota’s Accessibility U site
- Include descriptive text when you post a photo
- Add a caption file, or use YouTube’s captioning services for Facebook videos
- Avoid using acronyms in your posts
- Like Facebook’s Accessibility page for updates on new accessibility features
While you can’t add your own alternative text to pictures you post, Facebook adds machine-generated alt text automatically. This feature gives general information: whether there are cars, trees, water, or people in it. Facebook is even able to tell whether an image is a meme. Although this feature is useful, it doesn’t provide as much context as human-generated alt text.
Add descriptive text along with pictures that you post to Facebook, rather than just the picture. If you’re clever, the descriptive text you write will both explain and enhance the meaning of the picture.
There are two options for adding captions to videos on Facebook. You can click Edit after uploading a video and add a SubRip Subtitle (SRT) file, which is a video captioning file format. However, since not everyone knows how to create an SRT file, a better option may be to upload your video to YouTube first and add captions there.
- Plan out your snap stories to make sure they would make sense for all users
- Use the larger text option for captions
- Make sure there is good contrast between the background and the captions
Snapchat has limited accessibility features, but there are things you can do to promote accessibility in your posts. Make sure your Snap Stories make sense from beginning to end. Storyboard (plan out) your snaps to make sure the story is coherent.
The only way to make your snap story videos completely accessible is to upload them to YouTube and caption them there.
All of your friends on Snapchat will benefit from snap photos and videos that have good lighting.
For everyday chats, use the largest possible text size and ensure that the text is legible against your background image. For more information on this, read our color and contrast article. The default text is a smaller white font with a black line behind the text. This smaller text may be hard to read for people with low vision. The larger text option is located in the top right corner of screen after you type out your caption. The button is shaped like a “T” for text. There is also an option to change the color of your text appears in the top right corner of the screen after you type your text (This option is only available for the larger text format option).
- Use the post description area to add alternative text to images and to caption video posts
- Use the zoom-in feature to look at photos more closely by “pinching” the image with your fingers on the screen
Descriptive Image Text
Though there isn’t a way to add alt text to your photos, Instagram has no character limits for the post description area (called a caption on this platform). You should add descriptive text, rather than just to post the photo by itself.
Since Instagram videos are relatively short (up to one minute long), you can use the caption space to include quotes and context for the video. It is also important to note that users can see if a video has sound by clicking on the video. There will be an icon in the bottom left corner signaling this. There will be an “X” if there is no sound in the video or a speaker if there is. There is a new zoom-in feature on mobile devices that allows users to zoom in on photos with their fingers, like you typically would on your phone.
- Create descriptive descriptions for your photos.
- Change the titles of your images to describe what is happening in the image
- Use spaces between the words in your tags
Flickr does not give you the option to include alternative text on your images, so it is important to provide meaningful text-based descriptions to accompany your image posts. Use the “Add description” option.
Flickr automatically inserts the same title as the photo file itself (e.g., “DSC001.jpg”). Change the title to something more descriptive and human readable (e.g., “my cousin Frieda at San Diego Zoo circa 1991.jpg”.
- Avoid any acronyms in your posts.
- Use meaningful captions for your posts to serve as alternative text.
Google+ does not offer an alternative text feature, so make sure to include descriptive captions when you post photos. One accessible feature Google+ offers natively is the hyperlink preview.