Social Media

Just as anywhere else on the web, there are simple things you can do to make your content more accessible on social media platforms.

Best practices

Use alternative text descriptions

Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook allow users to add alt text to images so that visually impaired users can better understand images on the screen. Even though some platforms provide automatically generated image descriptions, you commonly see people adding the photo description to the main post. The auto-generated descriptions are very simple and not always accurate. They may misidentify or not properly convey the subject matter in the image. 

Text and Links on Images

Text and links on images are inaccessible just as they are on websites and should not be used on social media platforms.

CamelCase hashtags

Hashtags are an important component of social media posts. When you add hashtags that are made up of multiple words, use initial capitalization, also known as CamelCase. Using this technique makes the hashtag easier to read for all users. It also assists screen readers since their synthesized voices can recognize and pronounce the individual words in the hashtag. 

Note: #WriteYourHashtagsLikeThis instead of #writingyourhashtagslikethis.

Emojis and emoticons

Emojis displayed on a screen will be described by a screen reader. For example, the clapping hands emoji will be read aloud as “clapping hands.” When creating emoticons with text, consider the experience for screen reader users. In this example, this visual experience of a shrug ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ will be read aloud by a screen reader as: “Macron, backslash, underline, katakana, underline, slash, macron.”

student using phone to capture a photo of Brookings Hall

WashU Social Media Guide

Operating a social media account that represents an official school unit–departments, programs, centers, or labs–isn’t like managing a personal account. Since you are seeking to represent the university in a public space, there are specific guidelines and policies for how best to manage the account.