Because inclusivity and accessibility shouldn’t stop at your physical environment

October is Disability Awareness Month — a month that brings with it enlightening conversations, improvement strategizing, and new technology developments.

But accessibility shouldn’t stop at a person’s physical environment: language, attitudes, aesthetics and perspectives all play an integral part in being an inclusive role model.

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NAU Social Media continues to strive toward our goal of hosting inclusive and accessible social media accounts for all of our followers. We are always improving and modifying media to reach this ever evolving goal. You too can practice social media inclusivity with a few of our suggestions:

Choose your emojis carefully

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Try to avoid using gender-specific emojis when creating content, if you find yourself stuck consider using an object or animal in it’s place. You can even take it a step farther by using the default yellow emojis when you are addressing a diverse audience.

Use inclusive pronouns, or university-specific identifiers

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Consider creating a climate of community by using terms like “we, our, us”. Lumberjacks come from all walks of life and corners of the earth, and as such, are part of a special group that can be addressed as one entity inclusive of all.

Add Photo/Video Descriptions

In the visually-driven digital world of social media, accessibility for those with visual impairments is paramount. Including descriptions on pictures, videos, and other visual content can expand your interactive reach. These “alternative text” or “image description” features allows those using a screen-reader to hear verbal descriptions of your visual content; however, it is not always a default setting and must be manually turned on the within various platforms.

Twitter: Navigate to Settings > Display and sound > Accessibility > and turn on Compose image descriptions.

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Instagram: On the New Post screen, from the footer, select “Advanced Settings” > select “Write Alt Text” > After the text box opens, enter your descriptive text.

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Facebook: Facebook actually adds machine-generated/automatic descriptive text to photos, but they aren’t always the most descriptive. You can add more detailed descriptions with these simple steps:

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Try “Camelbacking” when making your hashtags

This term refers to capitalizing the first letter of each word in a hashtag. You can use this technique on any platform where you would use hashtags and can help screen-readers accurately read your tag. Example: #blueandgold vs. #BlueAndGold or #thingsthatjustdontgotogether vs. #ThingsThatJustDontGoTogether

Create your own social media guidelines

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Lead by example when it comes to creating an inclusive environment — and the first place to start is to lay out your own guidelines, plans, and ideals. NAU Social media has our own guidebook that can be used as an example or template for you.

Social media is a powerful tool in today’s society, and as curators of large scale content, we have a big responsibility to ensure inclusivity and accessibility.

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It’s always a great day to be a Lumberjack! Join the conversation and share your #NAU story.

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