9.6.4 How to say it through social media

Dynamic and innovative forms of communication through social networking (social media) are expanding all the time. Internet forums, video, blogs, podcasts, message boards… Twitter, Facebook, YouTube… For many people, these are fast, easy and democratic forms of communication. Some people will never use them, though, so public libraries should not rely on social media as the only way of putting a message across. The more methods of communication you use, the more people – and the greatest range of people – you will reach.

At present social media still present some accessibility issues, though these are in the process of being tackled. For example:

  • Twitter: keyboard accessibility, screen reader accessibility and audio cues are all now available. There is also an app which makes Twitter more accessible to people with dyslexia. Visit www.accessibletwitter.com for more information on these and other emerging solutions.
  • YouTube: visit www.icant.co.uk/easy-youtube/ for a less cluttered screen with big buttons. You can install it on your web server, offering more people the opportunity to view your videos. Using Easy YouTube’s caption creator will make your video content searchable and thus easier for everyone to find, as well as improving access for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
  • Facebook: always caption videos when uploading them onto Facebook, and use descriptive titles for photographs. You can find out about the current state of play on Facebook accessibility by visiting the Facebook Help Centre . For an HTML-only version of Facebook, go to http://m.facebook.com . Audio captchas, which enable screen readers to access the site, became available recently.

For more information on accessibility issues related to social media read the article on the Practical e-Commerce website. You can download a useful leaflet called ‘What about Social Networks and Accessibility?’ from the publications page of the Scottish Accessible Information Forum’s website. Visit the websites listed above regularly, as new solutions are being added all the time.

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