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Social Media

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Social Media is a useful tool for both instruction and promotion. Here is an accessibility review of three frequently used social media websites, in order to evaluate their effectiveness as an inclusive means of sharing information.

Before using social media as a teaching tool, consider that some students with disabilities will not be able to effectively use it. Twitter, which happens to be a popular site with some professors, is actually not very accessible and easy to use. Nor does the site itself have any sort of accessibility policy. The most effective social media sites for teaching are Facebook and YouTube, as the companies themselves have established policies to assure the accessibility of their features.

Facebook

Facebook Icon

Pros

  • Overall usable design
  • Clear and logically–positioned menus
  • Simple and well laid out forms
  • CAPTCHA system used for registration has an audio alternative

Cons

  • Graphical icons can disappear when users use a colour-contrasting schemes, however Facebook does a good job of providing text alternatives

Information on making your Facebook page more accessible

Twitter

Twitter Icon

Pros

  • Text-based media which does not rely on pictures or video

Easy Chirp: an accessible alternative to Twitter

Cons

  • No accessibility hotlink which lists the accessibility features of the site
  • Registration is done with a CAPTCHA system; audio option available however the link for it is small
  • Text resizing is locked
  • Links to complete certain tasks (ex. replying to a tweet, making a tweet a favourite and deleting a tweet) can only be activated using the mouse
  • The afore-mentioned commands only appear when you hover your mouse over a tweet

YouTube

YouTube screencap with captions

Pros

  • Option to add captions to video by uploading a closed-captioned file
  • Search bar in a logical place
  • Straightforward and logical menu
  • Alternative to CAPTCHA system
  • Zoom, which is available in Windows 7 and Mac OS X, is compatible with Youtube

Cons

  • No audio descriptions

How to create captions and subtitles on YouTube

Using YouTube with a screen reader

Source: Social Media Accessibility Review, prepared by Media Access Australia (MAA)