Inclusive Design Suggestions for 2023


Social media accessibility has been gaining elevated consideration previously few years. Thanks partly to some current product releases by Twitter and TikTok, it’s now not a distinct segment matter. It’s now a follow that each one social media entrepreneurs ought to educate themselves on.

On this article, we’ll clarify why accessibility is essential on social media, the boundaries customers with disabilities might face on social media, and a few greatest practices for designing inclusive social media content material for all customers.

What is inclusive design?

Inclusive design in social media refers to designing social media platforms, features, and content to ensure that all users, regardless of their background or abilities, can participate fully and engage on social media.

Inclusive design considers different users’ diverse needs and experiences when creating content. This can include designing for users with disabilities, different languages or cultural backgrounds, or other unique needs.

Following inclusive design principles makes your neighborhood a extra welcoming and inclusive house.

Why accessibility issues for social media

Regardless of its many advantages, social media could be a supply of frustration for customers with disabilities or distinctive wants. Inaccessible social media content material can stop these customers from partaking with the world of social. They might be shut out of conversations or unable to entry important data.

Not less than one billion people — 15% of the world’s inhabitants — expertise some type of incapacity. That determine will increase considerably when additionally contemplating momentary and situational disabilities.

The World Health Organization estimates 33% of the worldwide inhabitants has a listening to or sight impairment. Since customers primarily devour social content material by means of audio and visuals, accessibility in social media is essential.

Usually, accessibility is required by legislation. Nations, together with america, Canada, and the UK, have legal guidelines such because the Individuals with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) which require that web sites and digital content material be accessible to customers with disabilities.

Plus, accessible content material can attain extra folks and be extra partaking. That’s what social media entrepreneurs care about most, proper?

A Verizon examine discovered that 83% of US users watch content material with pontificate. Chatterblast discovered that 77% of conversions occurred on movies with pontificate. So, creating accessible content material actually advantages us all.

7 inclusive design ideas for social media managers

1. All the time add alt textual content

Descriptive captions and different textual content (also called alt textual content) permit folks to visualise photographs once they can’t see them. It’s essential so as to add alt textual content, as accessibility instruments learn them to explain photographs for customers. Leaving it clean will trigger a display screen reader to announce it as “picture,” making a poor expertise.

A number of social media platforms use object recognition expertise to generate computerized alt textual content. Nevertheless, these captions are sometimes imprecise or restricted, so including a customized description is at all times higher.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn present particular fields so as to add alt textual content for photographs and GIFs (you can also add alt text with Hootsuite). If including or enhancing alt textual content is inconceivable, embody descriptive phrases within the put up copy.

Suggestions for creating good alt textual content:

  • Describe what’s truly within the picture. Unhealthy instance: “Picture of bar chart.” Good instance: “A bar chart displaying a constant year-over-year enhance within the S&P 500 index.”
  • Skip saying “picture of” or “photograph of.” The Royal National Institute of Blind People says most display screen readers favor you don’t.
  • Embody humor. Alt textual content doesn’t should be overly formal and may clarify any jokes or subtleties conveyed within the visible.
  • Transcribe textual content. If the picture has copy that’s central to its that means, embody it within the description.
  • Don’t neglect GIFs. On Twitter, you may add alt text for GIFs. If the platform doesn’t assist alt textual content for GIFs, embody an outline within the copy.
  • Be concise. It usually takes longer to relate alt textual content than to learn it, so preserve that in thoughts when writing descriptions.

A observe about SEO on social media: Whereas alt textual content doesn’t essentially impression search engine rankings, it does enhance search rankings inside social media apps. Nevertheless, it is best to at all times prioritize writing a transparent and detailed description first. search engine optimization is a secondary profit, not the first goal of alt textual content.

One final tip: Don’t misuse alt textual content for functions apart from describing a picture. Alt textual content fields shouldn’t be used to cover data easter eggs, be witty, or create memes. Customers who want alt textual content probably the most won’t perceive this context — save the jokes to your captions.

2. Video captions

Including captions or subtitles to movies is essential for customers with listening to challenges. In addition they improve the viewing expertise for customers watching in a non-native language or sound-off environments.

There are two forms of captions: closed and open. Customers can flip closed captions on or off, and they’re added natively inside social platforms (often as a .srt file). Open captions are “burned in” when creating the video.

Closed captions are most well-liked for accessibility, however open captions can be utilized if closed isn’t out there or if a model has a strict design model to use to their captions.


Once you add each open and closed captioning to your video 🥲 #cc #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner #coda #opencaption #closedcaption

♬ Pieces (Solo Piano Version) – Danilo Stankovic

Right here’s how you can add captions on every platform:

Tip: Hootsuite lets you add .srt recordsdata in Compose, making including closed captions to your movies straightforward.


working from residence in model 😎 #wfh #smm #socialmediamanager #corporatemillennial

♬ original sound – Hootsuite

This TikTok video reveals what auto-generated closed captions seem like on TikTok. Notice: the captions solely seem within the TikTok app, not on desktop.

3. Write accessible textual content

Prioritizing readability in your writing makes textual content extra accessible and comprehensible. And that advantages everybody, no matter their challenges.

When writing put up copy, take into account the studying expertise for others. How will it impression customers utilizing accessibility instruments like display screen readers? What about customers studying English as a second language or customers with studying disabilities?

Listed here are some inclusive design ideas for textual content:

  • Write in plain language. Write copy {that a} person can perceive the primary time they learn or hear it.
  • No fancy fonts. Whereas these could also be tempting so as to add emphasis, they’re illegible for display screen readers.
  • Use abbreviations fastidiously. Abbreviations can be confusing to some readers. To keep away from inflicting instruments to learn abbreviations as one phrase, add durations or areas in between (like t.h.i.s.).
  • nO aLtErNaTiNg cApS or ALL CAPS. This reads as gibberish for display screen readers. Keep away from utilizing all caps the place doable, as display screen readers can’t perceive the context of why.
  • Don’t change letters with aster*sks. This interrupts the movement for display screen readers.
  • Write hashtags in Pascal Case. This implies capitalizing the primary letter of each phrase in your hashtag, which permits display screen readers to learn them correctly. Instance: #MyBrandCampaignHashtag. You too can use Camel Case — it’s comparable, however you don’t capitalize the primary phrase in your hashtag (ex., #myBrandCampaignHashtag).
  • Don’t insert hashtags inline. Add hashtags on the finish of a put up caption, not in the course of a sentence, as that creates interruptions for display screen readers.
  • Put blocks of hashtags in a separate remark. Large teams of hashtags aren’t nice for accessibility, however in case you should use them, add them through a separate remark moderately than on the finish of your major caption.
  • Use inclusive language. Keep away from ableist language, use gender-neutral pronouns and phrases, share numerous voices and emojis, and scrutinize your textual content for assumptions and restricted factors of view.

This can be a nice instance from Canyon bikes that makes use of a descriptive caption, Pascal Case hashtags, restricted emojis, and separates hashtags from the put up copy.

4. Create accessible visuals

Identical to textual content, social media visuals can even current accessibility challenges. Customers with imaginative and prescient impairments rely closely on instruments like display screen readers to navigate the web and perceive visible data.

Luckily, there are numerous straightforward methods during which visuals could be made accessible and inclusive for all.

Observe these tricks to create accessible visuals:

  • Verify your colour distinction. When putting textual content on a background, the WCAG recommends a distinction of at the least 4.5:1. You should utilize free instruments like this color contrast analyzer to examine your colours. Keep away from putting textual content on photographs, which could be onerous to learn.
  • Don’t rely upon colour to convey that means. Colours could be onerous to discern for folks with imaginative and prescient impairments, together with colorblindness, so that you shouldn’t depend on colour alone to speak one thing. As a substitute of counting on colour alone, mix it with symbols, patterns, or labels.
  • When sharing animated photographs, keep away from ones with flashing or extreme motion. Movement can set off epilepsy, migraines, and different points for folks with vestibular situations. In the event you can, keep away from posting GIFs or different animated photographs with extreme motion.
  • Don’t add extreme textual content to pictures. If you wish to share a big textual content block, put it within the put up caption. This enables customers to vary the dimensions, colour, and language to go well with their wants.

dos and don'ts to create accessible visuals

Supply: Facebook Design

5. Memes and emojis

Emojis and memes are engrained into the material of the web and social media. Sadly, they aren’t 100% accessible and inclusive for everybody.

For instance, if a model makes use of an emoji to convey one thing completely different than its literal that means, this context could also be misplaced when interpreted by means of assistive instruments like display screen readers.

Memes could be even worse. Usually, they’re created as textual content overlays on photographs. Even when the meme consists of alt textual content, it could be onerous to explain the punchline by means of textual content alone.

Listed here are some tricks to make your memes and emojis accessible:

  • Don’t use emojis as bullet factors: Display readers learn every emoji’s alt textual content aloud. This makes it longer to learn the checklist and dangers muddling readability.
  • Describe content material and context: When including alt textual content to memes, be as descriptive as doable of the content material and context, then clarify the joke or humor.
  • Keep away from ASCII artwork/memes: These are a few of the worst accessibility offenders. As you may think about, it may be very complicated when text-to-speech instruments narrate multi-line ASCII artwork like this to customers. If you wish to take part within the development, share the ASCII artwork as a picture as a substitute and describe it through alt textual content.
  • Place emojis on the finish of sentences: Don’t add emojis in the course of a sentence, as that is disruptive when being learn by assistive instruments. As a substitute, put them on the finish of a sentence or caption.
  • Not more than 3 emojis per social media put up: Extreme emojis could be disruptive and complicated for customers utilizing display screen readers. As a rule, don’t use greater than three emojis in a put up.
  • Don’t repeat greater than 3 emojis in a row: Repeated emojis could be time-consuming when narrated by text-to-speech instruments. In addition they might not perceive why an emoji is repeated, so keep away from it when doable.

As proven on this instance from Domino’s, it may be tempting for manufacturers to take part in traits. Nevertheless, this tweet can be troublesome for assistive instruments to interpret appropriately because of the emojis and ASCII symbols.

6. Keep updated on platform accessibility options

Excellent news: Accessibility has turn into an even bigger precedence for a lot of social media platforms in recent times. Twitter and TikTok have led the best way in launching accessibility enhancements and new options. These embody alt textual content and auto-generated captions.

It’s essential to be accustomed to every platform’s accessibility options and sources. We’ve listed hyperlinks to be taught extra under.

Fb & Instagram:






Different sources:

And eventually, some accessibility specialists to observe:

7. Embrace suggestions

Nobody expects all social media entrepreneurs to be accessibility specialists. As a substitute, do your greatest to remain knowledgeable (by means of articles like this), and in case you occur to make an accessibility mistake, settle for suggestions and be taught from it for the long run.

Right here’s a private instance.

Once I was on the lookout for a designer to enhance a visible I’d created, I shared it in a gaggle and used the phrase “lame” to explain it. A member commented that “lame” was an ableist time period and that I ought to use a distinct phrase.

I didn’t like being publicly shamed, after all. Nonetheless, I thanked the commenter for educating me, as I didn’t understand it wasn’t inclusive.

Companies ought to take the identical method. Keep away from getting defensive, apologize, personal the error, and don’t repeat it once more.

As a model, you may sign your openness to suggestions in a couple of methods:

  • Present clear contact particulars in your bio or bio hyperlinks
  • Maintain your DMs/inboxes open
  • In the event you use a chatbot to answer to your messages, make it straightforward to achieve a human
  • When replying to adverse mentions or feedback, at all times preserve an expert tone

This can be a nice instance of how to answer accessibility suggestions.

Social media accessibility instruments

Net Content material Accessibility Pointers (WCAG) 2.1

W3’s recommendations set the business requirements for accessible internet and social media experiences.

Vox Product Accessibility Pointers

These tips present an interactive checklist for designers, editors, engineers and extra.

Readability Instruments

Verify the readability of your copy with Hemmingway Editor or Readable. Purpose for Grade 8 or decrease to adjust to WCAG requirements.

Thread Reader App

This Twitter bot unrolls threads on the platform so customers can learn them extra simply. To immediate the app, tag it and write “unroll” in reply to the thread you need to unroll.


Add captions mechanically to your Instagram Reels, TikTok movies, and different movies with CapCut.

Distinction App

Contrast is a Mac app that gives a WCAG-compliant distinction checker. The app permits designers to examine their distinction scores as they choose colours. Here’s a guide from the creators that simplifies WCAG requirements.

Distinction Checker

Contrast Checker enables you to drag and drop a particular picture for a distinction examine, which is an efficient factor to do earlier than importing belongings to social media.

Colour Oracle

To make sure that you aren’t utilizing colour alone to relay data, use the free color blindness simulator. The open-source instrument is offered for Home windows, Mac, and Linux.

Colour Protected

Use Color Safe in case you need assistance discovering a colour palette that gives sufficient distinction and adheres to WCAG Pointers.

Textual content on Background Picture Accessibility Verify

This text-over-image accessibility tool helps you identify how legible textual content relies on colour distinction.


YouDescribe is a database of YouTube movies with descriptive audio created by volunteers. Copy and paste a YouTube URL into the search subject and click on Create/Edit Descriptions to get began.

67 % Assortment

As part of its #SeeThe67 percent campaign, Refinery29 teamed up with Getty Photos to supply photographs that includes plus-sized girls. See additionally the No Apologies Collection, a continuation of the collaboration. Dove additionally partnered with Getty to interrupt down magnificence stereotypes with the Show Us assortment.

The Gender Spectrum Assortment

Vice encourages media to go “past the binary” with this stock photo collection.

The Disrupt Ageing Assortment

Entry greater than 1,400 photographs that fight ageist biases in this collection created by AARP and Getty.


Aegisub is a free open-source instrument for creating and enhancing subtitles. You too can use this instrument to create transcripts for movies.


Observe your model mentions throughout social media and the online with Mentionlytics. This instrument is an efficient technique to present up and reply to questions and suggestions, whether or not you’ve been @-mentioned or not.

Lastly, I need to share two sources that I believe needs to be required studying for each social media marketer.

First, Accessible Social. This web site by Alexa Heinrich has up to date ideas and greatest practices for making accessible social media content material.

I additionally like Creating Accessible Social Media Campaigns, a information by the UK Authorities Comms Workforce. It covers the whole lot from fonts to hashtags to hyperlinks.

Social media accessibility means recognizing exclusion, studying out of your followers, and presenting data within the clearest methods doable. And on the finish of the day, that’s simply good advertising.

Handle all of your social media channels from one dashboard utilizing Hootsuite. Simply schedule and publish your whole inclusively-designed social media posts, have interaction together with your followers, and observe the success of your efforts. Attempt it free right this moment.

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With recordsdata from Katie Sehl.

Do it higher with Hootsuite, the all-in-one social media instrument. Keep up to the mark, develop, and beat the competitors.

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