3 Simple Accessibility Tips to Make Your LinkedIn Content Inclusive
Have you ever wondered how to write accessible LinkedIn content?
In this blog post, I'll share 3 simple tips that will help you create accessible social media content that engages and delights disabled people and makes you a trusted disability-inclusive authority.
1. The simple art of Alt text
Do you want people with visual disabilities to glimpse inside your post?
Then promise them a generous vision.
Use alt text.
Alt text is the text you see describing an image or a graphic (like the one I have for the image above). It’s also called "alt attributes" or “alt descriptions".
It's helpful when a blind or partially sighted person uses a screen reader to view your post because they’ll know what your photo is about.
I know what you're thinking.
Can't I leave it blank?
Sure, you could let LinkedIn do its magic but do you want to risk disregarding your keywords and losing precious ranking points?
When you use alt text with your images you’re welcoming all users to understand and enjoy your trustworthy content.
Gentle reminder: Deafblind people don't use a screen reader.
Instead, they use a braille display or speech recognition software.
So, if you want the best possible result, add alt text in the alt text box, in your post, and in the comment section.
Why in the comment section?
Because your image description might be too long.
In that case, you will not be able to add it to your post along with all the other insightful information you're sharing.
2. The inclusive hashtag
This social media accessibility tip is misunderstood and misused.
But this tip makes the difference between inclusion and ableism.
It makes the difference between getting your social media posts disregarded or
understood by disabled people.
You see, screen readers convert on-screen text (and other visual elements) into synthesized speech or braille language.
When you use accessible hashtags, the screen reader detects them and
reads them out as individual words instead of one, long and scrambled word.
There are 2 ways to create accessible hashtags.
1. Camel Case — capitalize the second letter of the second word of your multi-word hashtag like this:
2. Pascal Case — capitalize the first word of each word in your multi-
word hashtag like this:
Accessible hashtags also help people with dyslexia or a cognitive disability to identify the patterns and relationships between words.
Gentle reminder: Avoid placing your hashtag inline because screen readers read out punctuation marks, so you can imagine what that sounds like when they're mid-post.
Warning: LinkedIn doesn’t support this feature yet and has a nasty habit of switching them back.
So, double-check your hashtags to make sure they’re accessible before you publish.
Accessibility tip: Use the text-to-speech program on your phone or the free NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) tool to test your hashtags.
3. The accessible Emoji
We all love the little bite-sized emotion that gives feeling to our text.
And, technically, emojis are accessible.
But, because they are read aloud by screen readers, you need to be mindful of how to use them.
Because Emojis have a Unicode string.
A Unicode string is the description you see when your cursor falls on it, and this is the code the screen reader reads to a blind or partially sighted person.
The screen reader basically translates the emoji’s meaning via its alt text.
So, if you add several emojis in a row, for example, the poop emoji, your audience will get to listen to “pile of poo” ten times in a row.
How can you make sure your emojis are truly accessible?
- Use them occasionally.
- Use them at the end of your sentence or paragraph.
- Avoid long emoji strings (remember, the pile of poop example)
- Avoid using them as a replacement for text.
- Be mindful of where you place your emojis.
- Make sure they reflect what you intend to express.
- Double-check emojis alt text descriptions (remember, emoji descriptions vary, so check and change them if necessary.)
- Check that assistive technology can read your emoji (not all screen readers can read them).
- Don't use emojis to replace your message. Use them only to 'add' to the context of your text—at the end of your message, social caption, or sentence.
- Avoid changing the color on customizable emojis because emojis with custom skin tones have extra information, so content is longer — and possibly more confusing — for anyone using assistive technology.
Accessibility tip: Learn how to use emojis wisely and double-check descriptions with emojipedia.org. The website lists all emojis, their appearances, and descriptions across platforms, devices, and browsers.
Captivate your audience with accessible content and make the work-world a welcome place for disabled people.
You may feel overwhelmed.
You may even feel intimidated by Camel Case hashtags, alt text, and emojis.
But remember, accessibility is an ongoing process.
Use these 3 little things and your LinkedIn social media posts will be brimming with accessibility and you'll be on your way to becoming a more trusted disability-inclusive authority.
Are you ready?
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