If you communicate on behalf of UO via the university's social media channels, you should strive to make your content as accessible as possible. Social media is an important part of our outreach to prospective students and employees, and increases engagement with current UO students, alumni, employees, and athletics fans.
People consume social media in many different ways. Some people primarily use mobile applications, others use web-based versions of these platforms, this content is also embedded into our websites as Iframes. Because there are so many ways to view this content, and because we don't have control over the implementation of these platforms, we need to be diligent about what we can control, to make our social presence as accessible as possible.
This guide explains how to make our content as accessible as possible, and ways to provide more accessible alternatives, when appropriate.
These guidelines apply to all social media platforms.
- Video and audio should not automatically play. Some platforms default to autoplay being on, but allow you to toggle it off when uploading your media. If your platform does not allow autoplay to be toggled off, consider embedded a video from another source (like YouTube or Vimeo) that doesn't play automatically.
- All major social media platforms allow users to add alt text to their uploaded images. Even if the platform itself doesn't require alt text, consider it mandatory. Review our guidelines on accessible images to learn about accessible text alternatives.
- Don't include images of text. If this is absolutely required for branding purposes, include that same text as alt text for the image, or include it as plain text in the same post.
- Do not use animated gifs. These have zero accessibility support.
- Emojis are accessible. When you add an emoji to a message, they are automatically described by screen readers. You do not need to add alt text to emojis.
- Be judicious in adding emojis. Adding a string of the same emojis to emphasize the sentiment might be cute to a sighted user, but is annoying for someone using a screen reader. Add spaces between emojis.
- Don't use ASCII art. Screen readers read out each character, and is impossible to understand.
- Good: Emojis are inherently accessible and can be understood by screen readers without any additional steps. Hooray! ?
- Bad: Stringing together a series of emojis, whether the same or different emojis, can be frustrating for people who rely on screen readers to announce this data. ??????
- Worst: Don't use Unicode or ASCII art like "shruggie" ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . Each individual character gets read out by screen readers.
- Most social media platforms use some form of hashtags. This can be difficult to read for people with dyslexia and for those who rely on screen readers. To make it easier, type hashtags in CamelCase. CamelCase is formatting your hashtag such that the first letter of every new word is capitalized.
- These guidelines only apply to original social media posts created by the university. Assuming it otherwise follows your department's communication guidelines, it's OK to repost or share content from other organizations that do not follow these rules.
Social media platforms change their content editing interfaces regularly. Refer to platform-specific documentation for more information.