I know, I know, I know. I skipped February and March’s issue is already two weeks late. But I have a legitimate excuse.
I was busy building something huge.
As many of you know, I’ll be releasing a full guidebook on accessible best practices for social media (coming March 31st!), and I decided last month that I needed a website to complement it.
So I built one.
Earlier this month I launched Accessible Social, a free resource hub for digital marketers, communication professionals, content creators, and everyday social media users who want to learn how to make their content inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities. It was a labor of love because I have very limited web design skills, but I wanted to make something that I could easily update and grow.
My hope is that Accessible Social grows and evolves with the industry. I’d love to eventually have guest contributors on the site as well because I’m not the only accessibility advocate out there, and I’m certainly not all-knowing either!
Thank you to everyone who has shown support for the website so far. And thank you to Nicole Tabak, Kushaan Shah, Lia Haberman, and Matt Navarra (and anyone else I possibly missed) for featuring Accessible Social in the recent issues of your respective newsletters, as well as Amanda Natividad for mentioning the site in the SparkToro Audience Research newsletter.
Anyway, let’s get to everything that happened in January and February.
PS: since Accessible Social was launched on March 9th, it’s been viewed more than 35,000 times by people from more than 105 countries. Like, holy shit.
News and Updates
CODA shines during awards season
Have you seen CODA yet? If you haven’t, make sure you add it to your must-watch list. The film has not only captivated audiences but it’s also managed to nab several historic award nominations (and by now, a few wins) including three Oscar noms.
Troy Kotsur, who plays the patriarch of the Rossi family in CODA, is the first deaf actor to receive an Oscar nomination for an acting award. He is the second deaf actor overall to receive an acting nomination, after his CODA co-star Marlee Matlin, who won in the Best Actress category in 1986. Kotsur is nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category.
Disability organizations urge DOJ to enforce web accessibility rules
This is a huge deal. More than 170 organizations basically told the Department of Justice, “Hey, a whole part of our world isn’t accessible and you need to do something about it.” And you know what, the DOJ kind of listened. Here’s to hoping we see clearer guidelines laid out for web accessibility and enforced soon.
Engadget @engadgetDisability organizations call on DOJ to finalize online accessibility rules https://t.co/hQJDLNKSlH https://t.co/SWuJhxsGl0
Representation is such an important part of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It’s even more important that the people being represented have a say in that representation. This Paralympics Barbie is an excellent example of that.
Captions should always be available, Zoom
It really is baffling that two years into a global pandemic that has seen so many people working virtually, Zoom still makes users request that meeting hosts turn captions on. They should be a feature that is readily available for every tier of the platform! No one should have to ask for captions.
Video accessibility is more than captions
This was such an embarrassing gaffe by the Disability Unit for the UK government and on World Braille Day of all days. It takes more than captions to make a video accessible. After all, what good are captions to someone who is blind? This video should have been narrated or a written description should have been made available.
Disability Unit @DisabilityGovUK[1/6] It’s World Braille Day! Did you know? Braille is inspired by the way French soldiers used to communicate at night 🪖 Learn five interesting facts about Braille 👇 #WorldBrailleDay https://t.co/YZSmQTOR7k
Robots don’t do alt text well
Plain and simple, you should never rely on artificial intelligence to write alternative text for your images. It normally doesn’t turn out very descriptive or accessible.
Robots also don’t do captions well
Much like with alt text, artificial intelligence also shouldn’t be relied on to write your video captions. Auto captions are almost always rife with errors, sometimes embarrassing and sometimes even worse.
Have you recently spotted a major digital accessibility win or learning moment on social media? Send it to me! I might just feature it in my next newsletter. Feel free to email me at email@example.com. My inbox is always open!
I find some of the best tips, resources, and insights on Twitter from other creators and advocates, and I want to share them with you, too!
Are you looking for an online community where you can learn more about accessible social media practices? Join the Accessible Social Facebook group! It’s dedicated to helping anyone working in social media, marketing, public relations, communications, or advertising learn more about digital accessibility in a friendly, safe community. All are welcome!
Longer pieces that are definitely worth reading and learning from.
Ludmila N. Praslova | Fast Company
Meryl Evans | LinkedIn
Andrew Hutchinson | SocialMediaToday
Anna E. Cook | Slate
Remote work has finally made me — a legally-blind person — feel like I can thrive at my job. I'm sad it took this long.
Rachel Christian | Business Insider
Andrew Pulrang | Forbes
Lisa Rosen | Los Angeles Times
Bits of wisdom, thoughtful moments, and maybe a few pointed remarks.
One Last Chuckle
I can’t even describe how much I adore Marlee Matlin. She’s a brilliant actress that you may recognize from the movie CODA and just incredibly funny, so it was no surprise to me that I laughed my way through this clip.
Want to learn more about accessible best practices for social media? Make sure to visit the Accessible Social website!