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Designing for accessibility is something a lot of designers have previously overlooked (guilty as charged here). There are plenty of things creators of online content can do to make it easier for people using screen readers to access their content.

Hashtags

Hashtags are generally used as a string of words in one long, unbroken line. Screen readers are confused by these and either try to read them as one long word or, failing that, they spell each letter out individually. I know I don’t have time to listen to 20 hashtags being spelled out and neither do the visually impaired. To make hashtags more accessible you can capitalise the first letter of each word within the hashtag, also known as Title Case. This can also help people with dyslexia or other cognitive disabilities who experience challenges identifying the patterns that make words or sentences.

Image descriptions

When posting on social media a brief description of an image or a meme can make all the difference to someone using a screen reader. Often posters will add their own vague caption “Isn’t this great” or “Love this” along with an image that includes text or an image that just speaks for itself. The image can’t speak for itself so a brief description can help the visually impaired to understand the post.