If you’ve been creating content for any length of time, chances are you probably already know about inclusive design. If not, then you need to be concerned about how your content can be more accessible to people with disabilities. Recently, we have been learning from a few of our content creator colleagues and picking up ideas on how to increase access to our content. Whether you create audio, text, image, video or some other type of digital content, we hope you’ll find it easy to incorporate these accessibility ideas into your creative workflow.

Inclusive design starts with being intentional…

A few months ago, we received a DM on Instagram from one of our followers saying that she loved our content for catering to those who are hard of hearing.

We paused to carefully consider what she said. Up until that point, we had not been intentional about creating content for those who may be hard of hearing or deaf. We already use Alt Text to increase access to our digital content for blind people. It was comforting to know that we were being inclusive, even if unintentionally so. 

However, that message made us take a look at our process and since then, we’re making the effort to be intentional about being inclusive-by-design to increase accessibility. We still have so much to learn but we want to be better content creators and will prioritise this going forward.

Tweaking your content design and workflow to create content that is accessible to as much of your audience’s consumption needs as possible isn’t that difficult.

However, it all begins with recognising that accessibility needs exist and then being intentional about inclusivity in your creation process.

So, here are a few ideas to help you create accessible content.

1. Caption everything

Did you know that almost 92% of videos on mobile phones are viewed with the sound off? The same Verizon report recommends captions because:

“80% more consumers are likely to watch an entire video when captions are available”

Therefore, if you’re talking away in your Instagram Stories with no captions, there is a huge chance that your viewers will simply forward through it. Take a look at your Instagram Insights to confirm whether this is the case.

If so, you’ll want to think about how you can create captions to go with your videos. This principle applies to any social media platform that supports the Stories format (they all seem to do so these days)!.

HDYTI Tip: We recently started using the Instagram Thread app for captioning our stories. Do you know of any other good caption apps? Perhaps apps that are native to other social media platforms? Do share.

2. Enable and add sound

Just to add to the previous point, if you’re creating any type of video content, always enable/add sound in addition to text.

This helps to communicate context, mood, and intention.

3. Use Alt text…and be descriptive!

Speaking about the importance of Alt Text descriptions, journalist, Youtuber, podcaster and blogger, Sassy Wyatt (Thinking Out Loud), says:

“If you were to close your eyes, or God forbid, become visually impaired or blind, and someone was describing a picture to you: it’s likely that you would want as much description as you could possibly ask for. I appreciate that it may take you a few minutes longer to write the alt text descriptions out but actually, it makes such a difference to blind people like me who are visually impaired and use screen readers…”

Use the Alt text feature on Instagram (in-feed photo posts) to describe each detail in your photo in depth. Describe the scenery, actions, what you’re wearing, etc.

Alt Text or Alt Captions are also useful on Twitter, LinkedIn and most other social media platforms that provide this feature.

On your blog posts, if you use WordPress, make sure to fill out the Alt Text for images you upload. Again, be as descriptive as possible while trying to be succinct at the same time.

4. Create Transcripts

Here’s one for you podcast and YouTube folks.

Transcripts provide downloadable text for longer pieces of content (such as podcasts, instructional videos, etc).

HDYTI Tip: Check out resources like Takenote.co, Scribie, or Temi

If you haven’t got the time, you can outsource this. You can find transcribers on freelance worker platforms like Fiverr. Be careful with this one though. I’ve definitely lost money by hiring the wrong people in the past! 

Also, talk to other creators who offer transcripts, and ask what/who they use.

5. There’s more!

…Did you know that overusing emojis on your social media posts can be annoying to someone using an image translator? Or that using contrasting backgrounds and fonts can improve access for visually impaired readers?

Sassy Wyatt has some really good resources on her website. We recommend reading this one: ‘How to Make Your Blog, Website and Social Media More Accessible‘.

The folks at Hootsuite also have great tips on how to create accessible content.

Do you create accessible content?

If you’re already doing so. Great!

If you’ve never heard of any of the above, well, now you have.

Personally, we’ve found that these are simple and easy things to add to our content creation process.

Do you have any tips to add? Feel free to share in the comments below or engage on our socials.

Co-Founders & Curators at HDYTI

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London-based freelance writers and award-winning social influencers who run the popular travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).