Online and Social Media Accessibility
What is accessibility? Accessibility is the practice of ensuring that as many people as possible can use, understand, and have access to a technology, infrastructure, tool, product, or service.
The Accessible Information Policy and Guidelines states that Trinity College Dublin is committed to providing information in an accessible format. In doing so, not only are you complying with institutional policy but national and EU policy too. Accessibility applies to all materials, so take a look at our Accessibility Tips for advice on how to make teaching and learning, support, and other materials more accessible.
Below are useful tips to help make your online content more accessible, whether it be a website, Instagram, Twitter or any other platform.
To emphasise words, there are lots of approaches frequently used: bold, underlined, italics (italics) or colour (highlighted in yellow)
- The only accessible way to emphasise text online is bold.
- Italics are difficult or impossible to read for the visually impaired.
- Underlined can be confusing as it often represents a link.
- Colour cannot be seen by everyone and will not be emphasised by a screen-reader.
Be bold if you want to get your point across!
Make sure that you use colours with high contrast when using text on an image.
When choosing a font, be sure to choose a Sans Serif font. For some people, Serif fonts can be hard to read. Examples of popular Sans Serif fonts are Calibri and Arial.
Emojis, for the most part are fine to use on social media posts. However there are some things to keep in mind:
- Screen readers can identify emojis but be mindful not use too many as it can become very confusing for those using screen readers as each emojis will be described in detail.
- Try and put your emojis at the end of the text in your social media post as it avoids abrupt interruptions and confusion.
#PascalCase is very important for hashtags.
If you do not capitalise the first letter of each word then screen-readers will read the hashtag as one long word.
#PascalCase can also be very helpful for those with dyslexia and other learning difficulties.
Including a voiceover on your video is important so that people who are blind or visually impaired can understand what's happening in your video.
It not only describes any words on the screen, but also physical action, facial expressions, and sound effects.
For text heavy or animated videos, voiceovers can also benefit those with dyslexia and other learning difficulties.
Alt-text is descriptive text about an image/GIFs which is posted on social media, on a website or placed in a document.
Alt-text is particularly helpful for people who use screen-readers, but it is also useful for other purpose such as placing an image into context.
It is also important for images that do not appear / load on some people’s devices – the alt-text will instead be displayed.
There is no right or wrong way to do alt-text but there is good and bad alt-text. Remember to include all the important details but to avoid too much detail which can become confusing.
Just say what you see!
What the Alt-text space is not for…
Alt-text spaces can be highjacked for the wrong purposes such as adding a copyright to the image, a photographer’s name, or hyperlinks.
Remember: Alt-text spaces are for describing images only!
Tip: Copy and paste is your friend with alt-text. If you post similar images on an ongoing basis, remember that you can simply copy and paste alt-text from other images as long as you make the necessary edits.
Alt-text on Text Heavy Images
The text information on this image is the important part and should be prioritised over the decorative elements.
Tip: Copy and Paste. If you have created the image on PP or on Canva go back and copy the text from the original and paste it into the alt-text space.
Tip: Too much information for the alt-text space? Use the comments section.
Remember: If the text on text heavy images is not included in the alt-text then the person using a screen-reader is immediately excluded from the conversation.
Example of Alt-text:
Alt text: Trinity blue background with the TCD logo on a white background in the top left corner. In the top right corner is a photo of Ross Coleman smiling in front of some green leaves. To the left of Ross and underneath the TCD logo are sketches of two grey stars that slightly resemble a cross. Beneath this then is the ripped piece of white paper with some tape across the top as if it is stuck onto the image. On the paper it reads in grey text: Ross's Accessibility Tip of the Week. Week one: Using Alt-text. Across the bottom is a grey strip with waves along the top of the strip.
Captions are necessary on all videos for people who are hard of hearing or Deaf.
Captions are also useful for watching videos with the sound turned off in quiet environments.
For people with English as their second language, captions can aid understanding.
There are many ways to do captions, but it all depends on the software you have access to.
(Subscriptions: Kapwing.com or Clipomatic; also some Trinity departments have free access to Adobe Premier Pro)
YouTube is free and it does a lot of the work for you. You can upload a captions transcript and within a day or two the timings will have been generated for you.
Please note: although YouTube is very useful for captions, it can sometimes take longer than expected to generate transcripts and / or timings.
Captions on YouTube
YouTube will generate captions automatically (great for Twitter as YouTube videos can be linked and watched through the Twitter platform). However, they are generally quite inaccurate and require editing.
You can also upload a caption transcript to YouTube either with timestamps or without timestamps. But, uploaded transcripts can also be inaccurate so please be mindful and make sure they are edited as necessary.
Tip: when editing try watch the video on 1.5x or 2x times speed.
Trinity intro and outro indents for videos:
- If the video is less than 2 minutes long only the outro indent is necessary.
- Remember that adding the intro indent will put a caption transcript (with timestamps) out of sync by 5 seconds.
- Recommended that you remove the timestamps from the transcript and let YouTube generate the timings for you.