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Accessibility for social media content

Why Accessibility Matters in Social Media

With the ever-growing online landscape, it is time to move away from the “one size fits all” style of social media content. Not all users consume content in the same way, and some physically can’t scroll through and engage with content like others. Making sure your content is accessible to all not only widens your target audience, but increases brand loyalty.

The best way to identify how your business can improve its accessibility is by identifying “edge cases”. This means finding users who are least able to view or interact with content. To identify these in terms of accessibility, it’s useful to think about users that have the most limited access to social media platforms. For example, a user who is hard of hearing, visually impaired, or dyslexic. Once you are familiar with this, creating accessible content is simply a matter of creating a bridge between these users.

Why Accessibility Matters

There are many reasons why creating accessible social media content matters, so let’s look at the most significant ones. We believe ethical matters should be first and foremost. People living with disabilities should have access to the same information and services as everyone else. You only have to look at the recent media coverage about a lady who was stranded on a plane for 90 minutes after everyone else had disembarked, to get a glimpse of the difficulties that people living with disabilities face on a regular basis.

Choosing to produce accessible content can create a stronger relationship with your client base. Access to information and resources to help people with disabilities make informed decisions and purchases is invaluable and increases brand loyalty. Returning customers spend on average 63% more per purchase than new customers, so building a lasting relationship with your clients pays off.

The volume of social media users is also a powerful argument for making your content more accessible. According to the World Health Organisation, 15% of people will experience some form of disability in their life. If we compare that to the number of social media users out there then we start to see the volume of users we could be missing out on:

  • There are 3.5 billion active social media users
  • 15% of active users = 52 million

By ignoring these users, you run the risk of alienating a massive number of potential customers, or missing out on interaction from these users. Improving accessibility can increase engagement, which in turn can help to see a rise in brand loyalty and sales figures.

Finally, with the growth of social media commerce, creating accessible content could quite simply increase your sales. Due to the popularity of the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, the inclusion of the “shop” function of Instagram, and the infamous Facebook ads, more and more users are being encouraged to make purchases through these platforms. This links back to the idea of brand loyalty – 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are more likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family.

How to Increase your Accessibility

Many social media apps now have built in capabilities to improve accessibility, for example auto generated captioning. However, we’ve all seen some form of closed captioning fails, meaning they’re not totally reliable. Here’s our suggestions on how to adapt your social media content to be more accessible:

Video Subtitling

Video subtitles are becoming more and more commonplace; most noticeably in streaming services, as well as on videos featured on social media. Facebook statistics show that using subtitles on videos longer than one minute increases the viewing time by 12%. Studies have also shown that subtitles improve recall.

But subtitling goes beyond these statistics. Users who are deaf or hard of hearing can rely on these subtitles to understand and digest the information that’s being presented to them. In addition, subtitles can be used to translate your video content for foreign markets to expand your audience, and foreign language learners can also use subtitles when brushing up on their reading skills. Subtitles help to strengthen the intent of your content, and most importantly, makes it accessible to more users.

Closed captions are similar to subtitles but they go one step further in their written form. They too are a text version of the dialogue featured in the video, however, closed captions also incorporate other relevant parts of the soundtrack, describing background noises such as phones ringing, or doors closing, and other audio cues that are needed to describe what is happening to those who cannot hear the audio. This allows hard of hearing users to better connect with the content.

Audio Description

Audio description is a form of narration used in video content and is there to help those with visual impairment.

On handheld devices, screen readers are used by visually impaired users to navigate social media. People using screen readers on iOS devices will hear a list of items a photo may contain as they swipe past photos on social media. It also reads aloud data like date, time, caption text, reactions, and comments.

Similar to closed captions, audio description enables visually impaired users to picture key elements of video content that are not already described by the dialogue. To be able to add audio description to a video, it needs to have suitable space between the dialogue to add the additional audio cues. This is a major consideration when deciding on whether to add audio description or not, and ideally needs to be decided before the video is created so that you can ensure there is space to fit the additional audio between the dialogue. This is sometimes not possible on shorter videos as there isn’t sufficient space between the dialogue, so this may be suited more towards social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube where you can upload longer videos.

One thing that we have changed about our Social Media accessibility is the move to PascalCase in our hashtags. This enables screen reading software to identify individual words, rather than creating new hybrid ones. For example: #AudioDescription, rather than #audiodescription. This also helps users with dyslexia read these hashtags.

How can we help?

At Matinée, we offer voice over and subtitling services to ensure your content is clear, relevant, engaging, and can be understood by your audience.  

Our sales team can walk you through the process of how to make your content accessible, so get in touch and we’ll be happy to chat about your needs. We work with a wide range of voice actors and translators to ensure your content can be understood by a wider audience, and we have audio description script writers on hand if you need us to create a script for you.

Leave one-size-fits-all at the door – get in touch with us to see how we can boost your social media’s accessibility!

Call us on +44 (0) 118 958 4934

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