Tips for writing effective image descriptions.

A question that I frequently get when I talk about accessibility for social media is, “How do I write good alternative text for the pictures I post?”

If you’re not familiar with alternative text—more commonly known as alt text—it’s the written copy that describes the content of an image in a digital space and plays a significant role in making the online world more inclusive.

The importance of alt text

The purpose of alt text is two-fold; if an image on a webpage fails to load, the alt text will indicate what the missing image was supposed to be. It’s also vital for anyone who…


The media giant has seemingly overlooked the app’s lack of captions

In case you weren’t aware, TED Talks, the organization famous for celebrating the art of public speaking and presenting, has partnered with Clubhouse, the app famous for filling digital rooms with people who are all experts at something. Through the partnership, TED Talks has started offering exclusive chats on the audio-only app.

While this idea is cool and something that even the National Football League explored before switching its allegiance to Twitter Spaces, it overlooks the reality that Clubhouse still isn’t accessible to all users. …


5 reasons why flyers don't belong on social media

Image: Prateek Katyal

Fun fact about most social media professionals: we hate flyers.

In the age of digital communication, flyers don’t exactly fit in, yet social media managers are constantly asked to publish them online to help promote a variety of events and initiatives.

You may be adamant about your flyer being posted, but there are a number of legitimate reasons why you may be getting pushback from your organization’s social media manager.

Your flyer isn’t accessible

Personally, this is my biggest issue with most flyers that I’m asked to post on social. A flyer created for print typically features a lot of copy. If you’re sending…


How to make your Twitter chat more accessible

Twitter chats have become incredibly popular, especially in the past year as more people try to find meaningful ways to engage with others during the COVID-19 outbreak. Great examples of successful chats include Brianne Fleming’s #PopChat, Christine Gritmon’s #ChatAboutBrand, Madalyn Sklar’s #TwitterSmarter, and many, many others.

If you’re not familiar with this particular social media phenomenon, a Twitter chat is basically a pre-scheduled conversation hosted by a single account centered around a specific topic. …


How to split your personal and professional alerts

Most social media managers absolutely hate the fact that Facebook requires you to have a personal profile in order to manage a Facebook Page. It’s a sneaky way for the platform to effectively keep its user numbers high. It also creates a massive headache for page managers because there’s virtually no way for us to split our personal and professional notifications without creating a second profile, which goes against the Community Standards for Facebook.

At least that’s what I thought until this morning.

I like to double-check my settings for Facebook at least once a month. This ensures that all…


Is it for accessibility or SEO?

I’ve recently seen some questionable takes about the purpose of alt text, mostly from content creators on TikTok. There’s a strange debate about its actual purpose and if creators should be prioritizing accessibility or SEO when they write their image descriptions.

Honestly, I hate that this is even up for discussion.

Given the choice, you should always place more importance on how accessible your content is for users with disabilities rather than how searchable it is. …


What to know about the long-overdue accessibility feature

The stickers menu from Instagram showing a sticker for captions in addition to stickers for mentions and locations.

Captions for your Instagram story videos have finally arrived! Sort of.

Industry leader Matt Navarra gave a sneak preview of the new captions sticker for Instagram stories via his Twitter account, and I, of course, had to go try the feature out immediately.

At first glance, the tool works pretty well. The captions take very little time to generate, you can easily edit the captions by tapping them, and there are four different formatting options to choose from. …


Better ways to handle flattened copy on social media

I’ve tweeted about it, I’ve recorded a video about it, and now I’m going to write long-form about a practice that has become commonplace on social media, especially Twitter, and frustrates me to no end.

I’m talking about flattened copy on images.

Flattened copy is text that has been turned into an object and is no longer recognized by basic technology as readable characters. If you run your cursor over it or tap it on your mobile phone, you will be unable to select the text. Most screen readers typically cannot read flattened text.

You probably see this quite frequently…


How elected officials can better communicate with all of their constituents online

President Joe Biden has made it no secret that he wants to better support the disabled community during his time in the Oval Office.

He said as much in his November victory speech as well as making it obvious at his Inauguration. There were several accessible options for viewing and listening to the ceremony on January 20th, the Pledge of Allegiance was signed by Captain Andrea Hall, and the now-famous Amanda Gorman recited a moving poem and has an auditory processing disorder.

Biden’s digital team also made sure that accessibility was a priority for the revamp of the White House…


It’s time to start treating social media professionals with respect

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels

I get it; social media is still pretty new. In relation to other areas of marketing like print, television, and radio, it’s practically a baby, and the people who make a career out of it have varied backgrounds and levels of education.

Like with any career path, social media is one that deserves respect. Most digital marketers, content creators, and other social media professionals are sadly very familiar with the flippant attitudes that many people adopt when they learn about the line of work we’re in.

However, we also know that these minor condescending comments and actions aren’t normally meant…

Alexa Heinrich

Award-winning Social Media Manager in Florida. Advocate for digital accessibility and inclusive content. Former Chicagoan. www.therealalexa.com

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