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3 Top Tips: Engaging & Accessible Social Media Webinar

Jul 27, 2021

Government Social Media along with digital accessibility experts from Minnesota IT services hosted a free, publicly-available webinar, “Connect to All of Your Community: Engaging and Accessible Social Media.”

Communicating with the people you serve in government requires connecting through digital services. To ensure equity, we must make digital content with accessibility in mind. During this webinar, Kendall Johnson, Communications and External Relations Associate for Minnesota IT Services (MNIT), and Jennie Delisi, Accessibility Analyst in the State of Minnesota's Office of Accessibility, used a person-centered lens to share best practices, resources, and planning considerations to improve the accessibility of your social media content. You can watch the replay here!

Here are a few top tips we took away from this webinar: 

Consider magnification

What do your images look like to people who have issues with their vision? 

“A lot of people don’t realize how many people in the United States have an issue with their vision that could impact their ability to view images on social media,” Jennie said during the webinar.  

Whatever type of image you post — from a picture of a dog to a detailed infographic — you want to consider how that information is consumed by your entire audience. Is it via a smartphone? Tablet? Are you packing an image full of data? What social channels are you planning to post on?

“Magnification is quite a varied topic, and people are using all different tools to magnify your content. They might just magnify sections of it or the entire window; they might use something like a lens — kind of like a magnifier that highlights sections on the screen. Because of this, you really want to consider the quality of your graphics that you choose to share,” Jennie said.

Alt text today

One of the quickest ways to make your page accessible is to incorporate alternative text — commonly known as alt text — today. 

“Alt text is a concise description that communicates why the author used that image and the image's purpose,” Kendall explained. “Alt text is also announced by screen readers.”

For people who are blind or have low-vision, alt text helps narrate an image, allowing someone to visualize the image when they might not be able to see it. Writing descriptions very clear and concise helps paint the best picture. 

“The best thing to think about is context,” Kendall said. To concisely describe what’s happening in the image, Kendall said the first question she asks herself: If the image wasn’t there, what would I miss? 

Keep in mind

Jennie also noted these three additional content types you need to be aware of on your social media.

  1. Posting GIFs that cannot stop “can be an issue for a lot of people,” she said, and can be a major cause of distraction that the viewer can’t focus on other parts of the page.
  2. Jarring content could cause a startle response or even PTSD. Jennie suggests to control autoplay where you can and use [video] to let users know that content might autoplay.
  3. Lastly, avoid flashing content, which may cause seizures.

Go through many examples & helpful walk throughs with Kendall and Jennie by registering to watch the replay of the publicly-available webinar, “Connect to All of Your Community: Engaging and Accessible Social Media.”

Best communicate with the public you serve by becoming a part of the free Government Social Media network — only available to full/part-time employees of government or educational institutions. 

We support the largest network of government social media professionals in the U.S. by guiding government agencies through complex social media issues. Government Social Media helps you successfully communicate with the public you serve, protect your agency and keep public trust while finding your support community.

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