Accessible Social Media

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.


Best Practices 

  • An option in Settings can turn on alternative text for images (see instructions below)
  • With hyperlink tweets, indicate whether the link 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). The eye can more easily read with the first letter is capitalized.  

Alt Text

As with other platforms, alt text is important to consider for images on Twitter. You can turn this feature on in Twitter settings:

  1. Navigate to "Settings", then "Display and sound", then "Accessibility"
  2. Turn on "Compose Image Descriptions".
  3. After this setting is turned on, you will see an option to “Add a description for the visually impaired” when you post a picture. This is particularly important when the tweeted image is an image of text.

Visit Twitter’s accessibility site 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.  


Best Practices 

  • 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 

Alt Text 

While you cannot add your own alternative text to pictures you post, Facebook adds machine-generated alt text automatically. This feature gives general information about the photo, such as whether there are cars, trees, water, or people. Facebook is even able to tell whether an image is a meme. This feature is useful, though does not provide as much context as human-generated alt text.

Descriptive Text 

Add descriptive text along with pictures that you post to Facebook, rather than just the picture. If you are clever, the descriptive text you write will both explain and enhance the meaning of the picture.

Video Captioning

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. 


Best Practices 

  • 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 steps you can take 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 the 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, which 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). 


Best Practices 

  • 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 

Instagram has updated their interface to allow for Alt Text. To add Alt Text to an image in Instagram do the following:

  1. Choose an Instagram photo, add your filters, and tap through to the caption screen.
  2. Click "Advanced Settings".
  3. Select "Write Alt Text".
  4. Add your Instagram alt text, and you are done!

This Business Insider article has more details, including how to update existing Instagram posts.


Best Practices 

  • 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 

Accessible Formatting 

Flickr does not give you the option to include alternative text on your images, so providing meaningful text-based descriptions to accompany your image posts is important. 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”). 


Article ID: 115384
Wed 9/2/20 1:07 PM
Mon 3/1/21 9:31 AM