Social Media Accessibility 101 with Alexa Heinrich
Alexa (Alex) Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist and accessibility advocate, sits down with FYI Host, Gil Rogers, to discuss social media accessibility. They discuss best practices for creating content that is more accessible to all audiences – including the do’s and don’ts of alt text and emojis, as well as how creating accessible content has an impact on your marketing efforts.
WHO IS ALEXA HEINRICH?
Alexa Heinrich is an award-winning social media strategist, accessibility advocate, and professional speaker who currently works as the social media manager at St. Petersburg College in Florida. She’s presented to digital teams and content creators on the importance of creating inclusive content at organizations like the U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus, Harvard University, the National ADA Symposium, John Deere, the World Health Organization, and MIT. Alex is also featured by well-known sites and publications, including The Washington Post, Forbes, Adweek, TechCrunch, and Sprout Social (Wow!).
IN THIS EPISODE…
Alex and Gil discuss how Alex got started in the field of accessibility, by accident, and some best practices to make your social media content more accessible, from individual users to those managing brand accounts of their own.
In the early days of her career, one of Alex’s “other duties as assigned” was overseeing the image sliders on the homepage of her institution. Alex recalls being asked if she was including alt text in her images, and she had no idea what that meant. After learning alt text’s purpose, she dove into researching accessibility for digital content.
“I suddenly had this realization that my content was possibly a barrier to someone getting an education which was probably a little bit dramatic on my part. It shook me, and I started doing more research in my free time and learning more because I felt I needed to do more. And then I just never stopped learning and never stopped talking about accessibility,” Alex says..
Alex has grown quite a following for being an accessibility advocate and isn’t afraid to use her voice to share the importance of digital accessibility.
“I’m not the only person out there who talks about accessibility, obviously. But I am one of the primary people within the marketing industry who really talks about accessibility as it pertains to social media,” Alex says. “I have a big mouth and I like to tweet about it, blog about it, and yell at brands about it.”
Alex explains what it means for content to truly be accessible as it pertains to digital landscapes.
“Create content or digital spaces that everyone, no matter their physical or cognitive ability, can access.So whether someone has a vision disability or a learning disability, or a hearing disability, they can still access the same level of information that everyone else can. So you’re giving an equitable experience to everyone on the internet,” Alex says.
Alex shares a few best practices for those looking to boost the accessibility of their own posts, including captions for videos and, yes, of course, alt text, among many other things.
“When it comes to best practices for social media content, most of us are very familiar with captions for videos, which is always a must – not only because you want deaf and hard of hearing users to be able to access the content, but anyone with learning disabilities, or if someone is autistic, or if they have ADHD, there’s a wealth of people who need captions,” Alex says.
She also explains why alt text is so important.
“I’m always telling people to add alt text. It’s basically a description of your image. If you have an image on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever platform, you need to be able to describe it so that someone who uses assisted technology or can’t see the image knows what it’s about,” Alex says.
Learn more about Alex and her accessibility resources at https://www.accessible-social.com/
Listen to the full episode to hear more tips and tricks from Alex to make sure your digital content is reaching every audience below.
And don’t forget to subscribe to our FYI mailing list so you know when a new episode is released.