I’m Carolyn VanBrocklin. I am the communication specialist with Concepts, Inc. We are a woman-owned small business that focuses on government awareness campaigns, specifically with veterans and disability communities.
Overall, pockets of social media are accessible. It does seem to depend on the specific platform. For example, Facebook has developed an accessibility page where they walk users through a range of questions on how they can access Facebook through screen readers, through other programs, how they can navigate with a keyboard. So, they have made some strides in making their site accessible and there are also certain workarounds.
There’s no way to caption a video on Facebook as of right now but you can possibly include a transcript in the caption. So, we also use Twitter and some accessibility solutions for Twitter are to alert people when they’re heading to a picture or an audio or a video by just putting a little bracketed text that says, “photo,” or “audio,” or “video” so that people who are following the link know what they’re going to be coming up on. And also with Twitter, you want to use CamelCase in your hashtags, which is when you capitalize the first letter of each word so that it’s not all just a whole bunch of lowercase letters strung together. So, that helps people just kind of understand and figure out what the hashtag is saying.
So, when it comes to eRecruiting there are several things employers can do to ensure that their sites and job information that they’re putting out on the internet is accessible to people with disabilities. One solution is to post across multiple platforms. That way if something isn’t accessible, it’s available on several different sources for individuals. Another option would be to host accessible versions or alternative versions on your websites. So, say you’re using Facebook to post a job, you also want to make sure that it’s on your website in a format that people with disabilities can access.
A great resource that captures all of the tips and tricks for accessibility is the Improving Social Media Accessibility in Government Tool Kit, which is hosted on DigitalGov. And there’s also a link on the PEAT website. Essentially, this kind of has tips, best practices, and other accessibility workarounds for websites and other social media platforms and includes information on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, even Tumblr, YouTube. Kind of ranges across all the most popular social media platforms that you can make sure that you’re being inclusive and accessible whenever you post something to one of these sites.
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