When designing and building our digital services, it's extremely important to consider all our users.
Making services accessible is a key part of the requirements we must meet as part of government. Our services must be usable for everyone, regardless of ability.
As our Lead Interaction Designer, I’ve been trying to raise awareness of accessibility throughout Companies House. Previously, I’ve tended to talk about why accessibility is so important. But more recently, I’ve tried to educate colleagues on what they can do to make sure their digital content is suitable for everyone.
Many of you will use social media at home. But you might not realise there are things you can do to make the content you publish more accessible to your audience.
If you're one of the hundreds of millions of people who posts pictures on Twitter or Instagram, it's really simple to make sure people with visual impairments can enjoy or resent that photo you took of your lunch.
"But, none of my followers are disabled"
Depending on your privacy settings, you cannot be sure who's looking at your content. If you post stuff online which everyone can see, there's a good chance someone with a disability will interact with it.
And unless you’re a time traveller, you cannot be sure that your loyal followers (or you) will not have disability issues at some point in the future. If you are a time traveller, please email me next week’s lottery numbers. Cheers.
Here are some tips to include image descriptions on your social media posts which will ensure that people with visual impairments can engage with your content.
How to ensure your picture-based tweets can inspire, amuse or annoy everyone – including those with visual impairments.
First, you'll need to set up image descriptions.
- Click on your profile icon and select ‘Settings and privacy’.
- Click ‘Accessibility’ from the list of settings.
- Turn on ‘Compose image descriptions’.
Then, add descriptions to your images when you tweet them.
- Click the ‘Tweet’ button.
- Select the photo(s) you want to attach.
- Click the ‘Add description’ tag.
- Type in a meaningful description, like ‘Photo of a weird cat’.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 if you’re adding multiple pictures to a single tweet.
How to ensure your Instagram posts can inspire, amuse or annoy everyone – including those with visual impairments.
- Upload your photos as normal.
- When you get to the page where you write your witty caption, tag people and so on, click ‘Advanced settings’ at the bottom of the screen.
- On the next page, click ‘Write alt text’ and type in a meaningful description, like ‘Photo of a weird cat’.
- Click ‘Save’ or ‘Done’ or ‘Share’ because you’re finished!
Congratulations! Grab yourself a cuppa and a chocolate biscuit, you’ve now done your bit to make the web a bit more inclusive.