Enhancing the accessibility of your social media material is critical for guaranteeing inclusion and equitable information access for individuals with disabilities.

Image: A woman who is vision impaired wears a light brown jacket and sits on a bench, using a mobile phone.

Social media platforms have become an essential part of our lives, connecting us to friends, family, and the wider community.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that not everyone accesses social media in the same way as we come to rely on it more and more for communication and keeping up with trends, news, and events. Due to the barriers posed by inaccessible information, using social media can be difficult for those with disabilities.

It is critical that we all take responsibility for making our content accessible since people with disabilities are barred from accessing information and participating in society on an equal basis with others when accessibility is not considered on social media.

You can make your social media channel more accessible to persons with disabilities by implementing the practises and features indicated below.

Alt Text

Alt text or Alternative text is  a description of what appears in an image that is visually hidden.

For individuals who use screen readers or other assistive technologies, alt text gives a text description of a picture. This enables persons who are blind or have low eyesight to comprehend the image’s content and its relevance to the surrounding content.

When writing alt text, avoid beginning with ‘image of’ because screen readers will already indicate that the content item is an image. Instead, describe the image’s most crucial and informative components and include any text.

You should aim to make your descriptions brief, specific, and written in simple English. It’s also vital to avoid using #Tags or links in your alt text unless you’re discussing content in the image (e.g. #HCE).

An image with an alt text description is shown below.

Image: The image shows a girl smiling with excitement while sitting in a wheel chair.

Users on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter can all add alt-text to photographs. We also advocate integrating image captions in your post’s copy and making use of the alt-text option.

Follow the links below to learn how to use alt-text on each platform:

While some social networking networks generate alt-text automatically, we urge that you offer your own because the auto-generated content is frequently wrong or lacking in depth. Here’s an example of a post with auto-generated alt-text, where the description is irrelevant and contains inaccurate information.

Closed captions

Closed captions are text-based alternatives to spoken dialogue in a video that are displayed on the screen while the video is playing. Closed captions, unlike open captions, can be turned on and off by the spectator.

Closed captions are crucial because they allow persons who are deaf or hard of hearing to access video information with audio. They are also useful for persons who have auditory processing disorder, live in a noisy environment, or are not proficient in the language spoken in the audio.

Follow the links below to learn how to use closed captions on each platform:

While some social media platforms auto-generate closed captions, we recommend editing these or providing your own to ensure they are accurate.

Image: A screenshot of a YouTube video with closed captions. The visuals show a graphical illustration of two person conversing over phone. Text shown as part of the closed captions: To get your first plan a representative.

Video descriptions

Similar to alt text, video descriptions are written descriptions of visual elements in videos which allow people who are blind or have low vision to understand the content.

Usually, these descriptions are provided through transcripts however, social media channels unfortunately do not currently have this option. What you can do instead is include a written description at the bottom of your caption.

When writing your video description, focus on describing the important visual elements of the video, similar to how you would create alt text for an image. When relevant, it is a good idea to include ‘this video has captions and sound’ and to describe the cover photo or thumbnail used.

Due to character limits on Twitter, we recommend adding ‘video description in comments’ to your post and including the video description in the next tweet.

Audio descriptions

Another way you can make your videos more accessible is to use audio descriptions. Audio descriptions are a voice-over, usually provided as an additional audio track, that describes the key visual elements, including settings, actions, and expressions of characters, allowing individuals who cannot see the video to follow along with the story.

Here is an example of a video with an audio description from Vision Australia.


Plain English

One adjustment you can make to your written captions (the body of text in your social posts) is using plain English. This is writing that is clear, concise, and easy to understand. To apply this to your captions, focus on using simple language, avoid jargon and technical terms, and break down complex information into shorter sentences or dot points.

Applying this to your captions can improve the overall experience for all users, as it ensures that information is conveyed in a way that is understandable to the widest possible audience.

Image: A young man with short black hair, wearing a blue shirt, sits in a wheelchair and smiles at the camera.


Another element that you may not have considered is hashtags. When hashtags are all in lower-case letters or all caps, they are difficult to read and can be easily misinterpreted.

To make your use of hashtags more accessible, you should use Camel Case. This is where the first letter of each word is capitalised, e.g., #CamelCase instead of #camelcase or #CAMELCASE.

Using Camel Case makes tags easier to read and understand, differentiates words, and assists screen readers in distinguishing words when reading the hashtag for those with visual disabilities.

Image: Two hands type on a laptop keyboard. Hashtags and cubes with hashtags on them hover above the laptop.


While emojis can be fun to include in your captions and can help support written content by communicating tone and emotion, it is important to use them the right way.

Screen readers read each individual emoji aloud. So, when one emoji, such as the smiling face emoji, is repeated multiple times in a row, the user will hear ‘Smiling Face’ repeated multiple times, which can take a very long time.

Instead, put emojis at the end of a sentence (or ideally at the end of a post). It is also a good idea to avoid putting emojis after each word to make your sentences easier to understand for users with screen readers.

When using emojis, it is also good practice to use them to support your written content, not to replace it. When emojis are used to replace words or as the only way to communicate emotion or tone, they do not convey the full meaning and can be misinterpreted.

To ensure your emoji use is accessible, use them sparingly, in context, and in combination with Plain English captions that clearly convey the meaning of the emoji.

Image: A hand holds a mobile phone over a wooden table. A smiling face emoji, laughing emoji and angry face emoji hover above the phone.

Social media accessibility is crucial to creating a more inclusive online space for people with disability. By incorporating features such as alt text, closed captions, and accessible copy, we can ensure that everyone can participate on social media platforms.

By taking these steps, you can make social media a more welcoming and inclusive space for people with disability.

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