CAPTIONING & ACCESSIBILITY
SMMS believe that social media should be available to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of a person’s accessibility needs. Everyone who wants to join the online communities and conversations we create should be able to do so. We are determined to provide all-inclusive content and are committed to being one of the first social media agencies to offer accessibility content to people with mental and physical disabilities, impairments, and long-term illnesses as standard in all our campaigns.
Accessibility should be built in from the start – making reasonable adjustments to our daily practices to combat discrimination and alienation for disabled people. By setting clear standards for our social media output, we can do as much as we can to make our content more easily consumable by everyone. We have identified the following areas that are crucial to creating more accessible social media content that we will pledge to offer on all of our campaigns:
We use easily readable captions that are burnt in on every piece of content for people who have hearing loss and people who watch videos with the sound off.
In addition, we use closed captions wherever possible for people using a screen reader, to help people with visual loss and cognitive differences. Closed captions are taken from an additional script file that is uploaded alongside the video content. It is important to add that automated closed captions are incredibly unreliable and deliver incorrect and confusing content, we do not use automated closed captions.
Alternative text is a short description of the image in the social post. We add image descriptions to all our posts so people who are blind or partially sighted can get the information from the image and build a mental picture of what someone who is sighted can see automatically. Automatically generated alternative text is somewhat unreliable and deliver confusing results, we do not use automated alternative text.
Accessible use of fonts, emojis and hashtags
Fonts, emojis and hashtags are all integral to the language of social media, but can pose some accessibility problems.
We do not use complicated fonts, or bold, or italicised fonts across our posts as they can be difficult for some people to read, as well as being more difficult for a screen reader to process, but have a portfolio of recommended and approved accessibility fonts.
We do not use multiple emojis in a row, an excessive amount of emojis, or emojis in the middle of sentences, as this can be confusing and annoying for someone using a screen reader.
By using CamelCase when writing our hashtags, they can be read more easily for someone using a screen reader or someone with cognitive difficulties. For example, rather than #welovesocialmedia we would write #WeLoveSocialMedia.
Colour and contrast monitoring
One in 12 men and one in 200 women globally are affected by colour blindness. By ensuring the best colour and contrast choice are used across our posts, they are not excluded from understanding the image.
Where possible, we use high colour contrast levels to help people with cognitive difficulties or poor vision access our posts.
Flashing image awareness and warnings
We endeavour not to use any video content containing strobing, flashing or blinking that may trigger Photosensitive Epilepsy. Any content that is deemed editorially necessary to contain flashing or strobing will have a clear warning.
We always aim to ensure not to use ableist language that can contribute to harmful stereotypes or devalues people who have a disability. Though often unwitting or unintentional, there are certain phrases and words that can suggest people with disabilities are abnormal.
British Sign Language (BSL)
In April 2022 the British Sign Language Bill has passed into law. The BSL Act 2022 recognises BSL as a language of England, Wales and Scotland. We have partnered with a Registered British Sign Language Interpreter and can interpret social media content into BSL.