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Social Media Accessibility

Many areas on the CSUSM campus areas use social media posts to help promote campus events, general information, and encourage engagement with their audience. These guidelines are intended to help University staff, faculty, and students who manage University-related accounts create social media content that is accessible to all users. 

These guidelines are intended for the official CSUSM social media channels and are not applicable when reposting or sharing content on a personal account that does not conduct core University-related activities.

General Social Media Guidelines

When social media content is broadly used by the University’s students, employees and/or the public to carry out or participate in its core educational and administrative activities, all available accessibility supported features of the platform should be utilized. 

Alternative Text Descriptions for Images

When social media platforms allow for alternative text descriptions on images, you should provide them. Text descriptions of images will be read aloud to non-sighted or low-sighted users who rely on screen readers to consume social media content. 

Captioning of Videos

Accurate cations are required on video content on any platform. Captions can be either closed captions (where a user can turn them on and off) or open captions (where the text is embedded into the video and cannot be turned on or off). Check the social media platform’s accessibility support features to determine which captioning type (closed or open) must be employed for captions to appear when a video plays. 

Avoid GIFs or Post Context for Animated GIFs

At this time, the animated GIF format has either very limited or no accessibility support on most social media platforms. This makes the animated GIF content difficult for individuals who rely on screen readers to perceive. Therefore, you should not rely solely on animated GIF content in a social media post. When using animated GIFs, confirm that the post can be understood through its text content alone. 

Hashtags

Hashtags are an important component of social media posts. When authoring hashtags that are made up of multiple words, use initial capitalization, also known as CamelCase. Utilizing this simple technique makes the hashtag easier to read for all users and is more consumable by screen readers since their synthesized voices can recognize and pronounce individual words, and won’t concatenate and garble them. 

Limit Emojis and Emoticons

Emojis displayed on a screen will be described by a screen reader. The 😊 emoji, for example, will be read aloud as “smiling face with smiling eyes.” Please be considerate of screen reader users by using emojis sparingly and by placing spaces between them. 

It is not advised to create emoticons with text and are suggested to be avoided. In this example, this visual experience of “shruggie” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ will be read aloud by a screen reader as: “Macron, backslash, underline, katakana, underline, slash, macron.”