Social media is part of our everyday life, and the people use it for various purposes like sharing photos, moments, locations, advertise, search jobs, and much more. We never realized it when it became an integral part of our life and scrolling feed in a mandatory part of our daily schedule. But what we fail to realize is that not all of us have the same experience with social media platforms. A lot of people around the globe are not equipped with all five senses. It makes it very difficult for them to use social media parallelly to everyone else.
International researches prove that nearly 253 million humans are entirely blind. Around 466 million are completely or partially deaf. That is a massive number of people who are forced to depend on the text-to-voice apps, screen readers, or other relevant apps to work their way around on the internet. There needs to be a better way for them to get an experience that is not as different from ours. Luckily, there are some additional features that the software companies are working on to bridge this wide gap between requirement and supply. Until then:
It’s the Emoji Speaking
The emojis made their first appearance on the internet in the year 1999. Since then, they have been the most used tool to convey the emotions and intentions of the sender to the receiver. Social media uses emojis the most. They slowly made their way into more formal forms of conversations as well, such as Gmail and Outlook by Microsoft. Recent studies disclosed that about 50% of the Instagram users have emojis in their captions. It is primarily because an emoji in your caption generates a higher engagement from the public. But if you feel that your content should be well-known and all-inclusive, consider an alternative. A text-to-voice app mostly reads out the texts, and when it encounters an emoji, it begins describing it.
So if you like writing posts or captions that include emojis in the middle of sentences and you think those emojis are essential for the users to grasp at the exact intent of the text, then you are making it a challenging experience for the blind or partially blind people. It cannot possibly be fun to sit and hear “tomato, man running dark skin tone, British flag, smiling face” and other emojis. Try using emojis sparingly.
Becoming DaVinci with Words
“A pen is mightier than a sword.” That is because words can convey so much more with much less effort. We need to deploy this idea in our captions as well. Of course, the entire purpose of a picture is to speak for itself, but for the people who cannot see, they require some assistance. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. have an option to include alternative text to photos so that a screen-reading app can describe it much easier. Platforms add their alternative text in case the user does not do so when they put up a picture, but the default descriptions are very generalized and incorrect in most instances. It will be easier for the physically challenged audience if the person who uploads photos describes it themselves because they will do a much better and accurate job at it.
Hashtags Are Important
Hashtags are the new trend on the internet. All you need to do is Google what the trending hashtags are, and you will be up to date hashtags. It takes even less time and effort to put in a hashtag and explain your post. But one mistake we make is not to type the tags with absolute precision. The text reading apps read the hashtag like a number, and all the text after that, if not written with properly capitalized letters, sounds like gibberish. If you write the hashtags and correctly and capitalize the first letter of every word written without space, the apps will be able to read it properly. For example, write #ConcertNightFriday instead of #concertnightfriday. The apps read the former as three different words (the way it is supposed to be read), and the latter reads as a single word that makes no sense.
Caption Closed for Today
Have you seen how the smallest of GIFs and video clips have incorporated dialogues as closed captions almost all the time? That is something you should follow, too, as a rule of thumb. If your video consists of a dialogue, make sure that it has closed captions at the bottom so that people who are unable to hear can also understand what is going on. Not adding captions may look like a convenient and time-saving option but, making videos accessible to a more significant demographic of people will help your videos get more views. While YouTube and Vimeo have an easy way to add in the captions, you can use apps like Zubtitles for other social media platforms.
Would you Fancy Some Text?
People are always in search of a new trend. If they cannot search for one, they make one. The latest thing on the block is customized fonts. People use it to make their profile aesthetically appealing and a little different from all other profiles. People with fine eyesight do not find it difficult, but a text-to-voice app will not even try to read this font and skip right on ahead. In some contexts, this may not be an issue, and the remaining text may still make some sense, but not always. It is a little insensitive to use these custom fonts because blind people cannot decipher it.
While the software developers are trying their best to incorporate the needs of disabled people in the best possible way, social media uses the need to make their content more accessible to all and be a little cautious before finalizing the material to be posted.
Jackson Henry. I’m a writer living in USA. I am a fan of technology, arts, and reading. I’m also interested in writing and education. You can read my blog with a click on the button above.