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Accessible social media

Reaching and Connecting with Your Community



In our increasingly digital world, social media has become a powerful tool for Deaf and Disabled People's Organisations (DDPOs) to connect, engage, and advocate for their communities.

This article, created in collaboration with Inclusion London and Disability Rights UK, explores the importance of accessible social media and offers practical tips for reaching your target audience. Ensuring accessibility is key to demonstrating leadership and inclusivity in the sector.

To support the content in this section of the Support Hub, you can access the PowerPoint Slides: Accessible Communication Training, to assist your note-taking.


The Value of Social Media for DPOs

Social Media offers a range of values for DPOs:


  1. Reaching Your Target Audience: Social media allows DPOs to connect with Deaf and Disabled people across the UK, quickly bringing vital information, resources, and support to those who need it.

  2. Expanding Your Reach: Using social media platforms effectively, DPOs can increase their visibility and reach a broader audience, including allies and supporters.

  3. Rapid Responses to Policy Changes: Social media provides a platform for sharing real-time updates on national policy changes that affect the community.

  4. Demonstrating Leadership: Engaging on social media platforms showcases that DPOs are leaders in the sector, contributing to change and making a difference.


The Importance of Accessible Messages

  1. Reaching Your Target Audience: Accessible messages ensure that all Deaf and Disabled people can understand and engage with your content.

  2. Expanding Your Reach: By modelling best practices in accessibility, you show your commitment to inclusivity, which attracts a more diverse audience.

  3. Making Content Accessible: Text is essential as various assistive technologies, including screen readers and Braille displays, and for translation and copying use it.

  4. Creating Accessible Images: Ensure you provide descriptive alt text when using images, making content accessible to screen readers.


Different Content for Different Platforms

Social media platforms are not one-size-fits-all. Each platform has unique features, user demographics, and preferred content formats.


To effectively engage the audience of disabled people, it's essential to adapt your content strategy for various platforms.

Here's why different social media platforms require tailored content and some examples relevant to the DPO sector:


1. Twitter: Quick and Informative

Twitter is known for its brevity, with a character limit for each post. This platform is excellent for sharing quick updates, short announcements, and links to longer articles or resources. Given the fast-paced nature of Twitter, content should be concise, to the point, and include relevant hashtags.


Share a concise tweet about an upcoming webinar or event, including a link for registration.

Use relevant hashtags like #AccessibilityMatters, #DisabilityRights or #DPOAdvocacy to increase the visibility of your posts.

2. Facebook: In-Depth Content and Engagement

Facebook caters to a more extended form of content and offers opportunities for in-depth engagement. Use Facebook for sharing detailed articles, thought-provoking discussions, and live Q&A sessions. Visual content, such as videos and images, can also thrive here.


Host a live Q&A session with prominent figures in the DPO community to discuss critical issues.

Share informative articles or guides on disability rights, ensuring they are easily readable and accessible.

3. Instagram: Visual Storytelling

Instagram is all about visual storytelling. This platform is perfect for sharing images and short videos that capture the essence of your organisation's work.

Use Instagram Stories to provide quick updates and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your projects.


Share image posts showcasing your team's daily activities, including accessible text descriptions.

Create visually appealing graphics that promote upcoming events or campaigns.

4. TikTok: Short-Form Videos and Creativity

TikTok is known for its short-form, creative videos. While it may not appear to be the primary platform for DPOs, it is a vital way to engage a younger, disabled audience. Use TikTok for creative and engaging videos that highlight key messages or tell powerful stories.


Share a short video of a team member doing a sign language challenge related to disability rights.

Create catchy, brief videos that spread awareness about specific issues, making use of captions or voiceovers for accessibility.

Check out Disability Rights UK’s new TikTok for examples!


5. LinkedIn: Professional Insights and Networking

LinkedIn is a platform for professional networking and sharing industry insights. Here, you can connect with disabled professionals, share research findings, and discuss policy changes relevant to the DPO sector.


Share leadership articles about the latest developments in disability rights.

Join or create professional groups and engage in discussions with like-minded individuals.

6. YouTube: In-depth videos and Tutorials

YouTube is an excellent platform for sharing longer, in-depth content, such as webinars, tutorials, and documentary-style videos. Ensure that your videos are captioned and provide transcripts for accessibility.


Post-recorded webinars discussing key disability rights topics, with transcripts available for those who prefer to read.

Share video tutorials on creating accessible content on social media platforms.


By tailoring your content to suit each platform's unique characteristics and expectations, you can maximise the impact of your social media presence within and outside of the DPO sector.

Top Tip: Valuable Tools like Canva offer free premium memberships for charities, enabling you to create and edit graphics.

Top Tip: Remember to obtain permission before using images and ensure they work well with screen readers.


The Power of Text in Digital Accessibility

Recognising the significance of text in digital accessibility is a significant step for DPOs.


Text is the unsung hero of digital accessibility. It bridges Deaf and Disabled People's Organisations (DPOs) with their audience, enabling access through various assistive technologies like screen readers and Braille displays.


Text is not just about words; it's about customisation and personalisation. It allows users to tailor their digital experience by changing colours, text fonts, and sizes to match their unique needs. This flexibility ensures that content is adaptable to diverse requirements, enhancing user-friendliness. Moreover, text facilitates keyboard-only navigation, making content accessible to those with motor impairments.


For video content, accurate transcriptions and captions make it accessible to Deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences.


Screen Readers: Text, Emojis, Images and Video Descriptions

For all content, consider how the text and supportive visuals will read on a screen reader.

Use this tutorial on Using a screen reader.


Top Tip: When using emojis, use them sparingly, as screen readers read each image individually.

Video: Emoji use video

Images and videos require descriptions for screen reader users and individuals with visual impairments, learning disabilities, and cognitive challenges.

Copying alt text into the description field, main post and providing URLs and emails help prevent errors.

Video: Examples of good alt text



Additionally, captions are vital, not only for Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals but also for those who watch videos with the sound off.

Different types of captions (auto, closed, open) and online tools for captioning should be explored.


Embedded Captions: Enhancing Accessibility with Limitations

While embedded captions are a powerful tool for making video content more accessible, they come with certain limitations:

  1. Viewers can't turn them off.

  2. They may partially block a portion of the image, potentially affecting the viewing experience.

  3. Embedded captions can't be resized or customised by the viewer.

However, they offer the advantage of being universally visible on any platform.

It's important to consider these aspects when using embedded captions in a single video file, balancing the benefits of accessibility with the need for a seamless user experience.


Closed Captions: Flexible Accessibility with Considerations

Closed captions provide viewers with the flexibility to turn them on or off, catering to individual preferences.

This feature, while useful, also present challenges:

  1. Some users might turn off captions if they find them distracting.

  2. Not all users are aware that closed captions are available, potentially missing out on the accessibility benefits.

  3. Not all platforms support closed captions.

It's essential to remember that not all platforms support closed captions and implementing them typically requires two files: the video and a separate .SRT file.

Striking a balance between providing accessibility options and considering user preferences is key when incorporating closed captions into your content.


Different Free Tools for Captioning

Captioning your content is made more accessible with various free tools. and Microsoft ClipChamp offer free and user-friendly options for adding captions to videos.

When using these tools, choose a location for captions that will be visible, and consider providing a demo to ensure an inclusive experience.


Platforms like Zoom, Teams, and Meet support auto-captions in online meetings. However, it's recommended to practice using these features first.

Top Tip: Zoom is a preferred choice for many British Sign Language (BSL) users, because of the good frame rate and the ability to ‘pin’ certain videos, to see signing and interpreters more clearly.


Uploading Captions

Uploading captions differs across social media platforms.

On Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn: you can either embed captions or upload them separately, offering flexibility for accessible content sharing.

Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook Reels: allow for caption embedding or auto-generation but do not support separate caption uploads.

For YouTube: you have the option to embed, auto-generate, or upload captions separately. YouTube can also serve as a valuable resource for website hosting with its diverse captioning features.


Transcripts and Plain Text

Transcripts play a vital role in making content accessible. They can be made from captions and vice versa, ensuring the broadest inclusivity.

Video: For An example of Transcripts and Plain Text use.

However, not all transcripts are equally effective.

Video: An example of a less ideal transcript.

Crafting high-quality transcripts is essential for a more accessible digital landscape.


BSL (British Sign Language)

BSL is a different language from English, and many BSL users cannot rely on captions or written English. If your budget allows, consider providing BSL translations for reports and resources, preferably by involving a Deaf person or interpreter.

If funding is limited, look for existing BSL videos from reputable sources, such as Sign Health.


Easy Read

Easy Read content is more than just English with pictures; it simplifies language and structure. Collaborate with organisations led by individuals with learning disabilities when commissioning Easy Read content.

Top Tip: Ensure you have proper licensing for images and offer courses in Easy Read for your organisation.

Pictorial Content: What is CANVA?

Canva is a versatile and user-friendly design platform that allows organisations to create visually appealing content without requiring design expertise. Canva is not only useful for creating social media graphics, but also posters, flyers, or infographics.

Canva offers a wide range of customisable templates and design tools for inspiration or copying.

Canva is free to use, making it an ideal choice for DPOs. Additionally, Canva offers DPOs that are registered charities or non-profits free access to its premium features. To apply, check out the Canva ‘for non-profits’ webpage or the Instructions webpage: accessing Canva premium for non-profits.

The Limitations of Canva


While Canva offers many advantages for DPO’s content creation, it has limitations. One significant drawback is the absence of a built-in feature for adding alt-text to images.


Therefore, when using Canva, it's crucial to manually add alt-text to a downloaded PDF file, ensuring that your content remains inclusive and informative for all users.


Ensuring Optimal Colour Contrast for Accessibility

Colour contrast is a pivotal aspect of creating accessible content. To guarantee that your materials are easily readable and navigable by all individuals, especially those with visual impairments, you must carefully assess and fine-tune the colour contrast.


Let's delve into the steps involved in this process:

1. Identifying Hex Codes and Colour Selection

Begin by identifying your chosen colours' hexadecimal codes (hex codes). These codes are unique combinations of letters and numbers, typically as a combination of six.

There is no standard way to do this, but, here are some example steps for Microsoft and Canva:

For Microsoft:

  1. Open the application where you want to find a hex code (e.g., Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, etc.).

  2. Select the colour you want to get the hex code for.

  3. Right-click on the colour or the colour picker.

  4. Choose "Colour Picker" or a similar option.

  5. A colour dialog or picker should appear, showing the colour you selected.

  6. Look for a field labelled "Hex" or "Hexadecimal" or "Hex Code".  The hex code will be displayed here, typically as a combination of six letters and numbers (e.g., #FFA500).

Top Tip: Sometimes you must select ‘More colours’ and then ‘Custom’.

For Canva:

  1. Open your Canva project in a web browser.

  2. Click on the element or object whose colour you want to find the hex code for.

  3. In the top left corner, you'll see a colour box that represents the selected colour.

  4. Click on this colour box.

  5. A colour picker panel should appear on the left side of the screen.

  6. At the bottom of the colour picker panel, the hex code is displayed as a six-character code (e.g., #008000). You can copy it from here.


2. Trailing and Adjusting Colour Contrast

With hex codes in hand, trial various colour combinations to ensure optimal contrast. Tools like Colour Contrast Checker can help you assess whether your selected colours meet accessibility standards.

Your aim is to make text distinctly stand out from the background, facilitating easy readability for all users. Tools like Colour Contrast Checker will let you know if your colour combination passes at various text sizes and fonts.

Adjusting text and background colours may be necessary to achieve this goal.  

3. Considering Text Size and Contrast Changes

It's essential to consider that colour contrast can vary based on the size of your text. As text size increases or decreases, the contrast between text and background may change. To maintain consistent accessibility, regularly evaluate your content at different text sizes to ensure readability remains intact.

Creating Dyslexia-Friendly Visual Content

When creating visual graphics on CANVA and other software, it's crucial to consider how you space out letters and sentences in your visual content.

Top Tip: The spaces between words (Inter-word spacing) should be at least 3.5 times the spaces between letters (inter-letter spacing)

Dyslexia-friendly design involves appropriate spacing between letters and sentences. Avoid overly condensed or tightly kerned text, which can cause letters to blend together.

Instead, opt for a slightly increased letter and line spacing to enhance legibility. Adequate spacing makes it easier for individuals with dyslexia to distinguish between letters and words, facilitating a smoother reading experience.

Top Tip: Different organisations advise different line spaces, but generally 1.5/150% is preferable.


Asking for Access Requirements

When organising events or creating documents, make sure to ask your audience about their specific access requirements. Providing examples of what they can request is helpful.

If you are unsure how to meet these requirements, consult the disabled people attending your event; they know their needs best.

Top Tip: Consider creating documents alongside PDF in DOCX/PPTX formats and add an access statement with contact details.


Social Media and Charity Commission guidance.

In September 2023 the Charity Commission published social media guidance for Charities. The Charity Commission's guidance emphasises the importance of a well-defined social media policy, compliance with relevant laws and platform rules, and the need to manage potential risks while leveraging the benefits of social media for charitable purposes.

The charity commission has also provided a Checklist for developing a social media policy [Charity Commission]. And We’ve provided a DPO social media policy Template.docx based on this checklist. Please make sure to check back with the charity commission’s check-list as you complete your policy template.


It’s important that if your organisation is a charity, you review the guidance. But we’ve provided an overview here:

Risks to Charities:

  • Social media's fast pace can lead to the posting of inappropriate or harmful content.

  • Content posted on social media is difficult to retract once it's published.

  • The lines between professional and personal lives can become blurred when using social media.

Key Guidelines and Responsibilities:

  • Charities should develop a social media policy tailored to their needs and regularly review it.

  • Social media use should align with the charity's purpose and be in its best interests.

  • Compliance with relevant laws, including GDPR, privacy, copyright, defamation, and equality and human rights, is essential.

  • Charities must follow rules and codes of conduct of the social media platforms they use.

  • Trustees, staff, and volunteers using social media should be familiar with the charity's guidelines.

  • Procedures should be in place to deal with breaches, including legal compliance, and actions to protect the charity's reputation.

  • Personal social media use by trustees, employees, or volunteers should not negatively impact the charity.

  • Campaigning, political activity, and fundraising on social media should adhere to additional rules outlined in the guidance.

Staying Safe Online:

  • Develop processes for managing access to social media accounts and security.

  • Be aware of fake accounts created in the charity's name and know how to report them.

  • Consider using tools for moderating content and provide training for staff when necessary.



Accessible social media is a powerful tool for DPOs, allowing you to reach your target audience, expand your reach, respond to policy changes, and demonstrate leadership.

Ensuring your messages and content are accessible is key to achieving these goals. Following the practical tips outlined in this article, you can create inclusive and engaging content that connects with the Deaf and Disabled community.

Finally, remember to be mindful of the guidance and regulations of each platform and national regulators.



Activities for DPO Readers:

  1. Alt Text Exercise: Practice writing alt text for images. Find images from your organisation's work or related topics and create descriptive alt text for them. Share your alt text with peers for feedback.

  2. Captioning Challenge: Choose a short video from your organisation and add captions. Experiment with different captioning styles (auto, closed, open) and compare their accessibility. Share the results and experiences with your team.

  3. Image and Video Descriptions: Develop image and video descriptions for your organisation's social media content. Make sure to include URLs and emails as applicable. Ensure that these descriptions enhance content accessibility.

  4. BSL Translation Exploration: If your organisation has the means, explore the process of creating BSL translations for a piece of content. If resources are limited, search for existing BSL videos from reputable sources and share them with your community.

  5. Easy Read Practice: Rewrite a short text or document from your organisation using Easy Read principles. Collaborate with a learning disabilities organisation or advocate to review your work for feedback.

  6. Access Statement Development: Create an access statement for a venue or event you know. Include contact details and relevant access information to ensure all attendees are accommodated.

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