Facebook Accessibility

Find out how to make your Facebook posts more accessible by adding descriptive text to photos and captions to native video posts.
The social networking app, Facebook, continues to be the most popular social media platform for the blind and partially sighted community to consume content; much of which has to do with Facebook’s robust accessibility features.

Why create accessible content?

You may ask yourself, what advantage is there to me in posting multimedia content on Facebook that is accessible?

First off, increasing numbers of people in the general population consume video content on Facebook using Auto play settings on mute and with captions turned on – which inevitably increases video views, sharability, likes and overall reach.

And the same goes for photos that are described and properly tagged: they simply reach more people and are more searchable. Making your photos and videos as inclusive as possible for the largest possible audience (which includes the blind and partially sighted and the deaf and hard of hearing is simply smart business.

So where to start? How about we make a photo posted on Facebook accessible to a blind or visually impaired person by adding descriptive text to it?

Accessible Photos on Facebook

  1. Upload the photo to your timeline through the “Share a photo or video” button. You can share a lot of photos on Facebook, but for simplicity's sake, let’s upload just one. After writing a description and tagging influencers to maximize the reach and sharability of your post, it’s time to Publish or Schedule.
  2. Whether you publish the post immediately or schedule it for another time, you can always add accessible image descriptions to the photo after the fact. Let’s click the blue Publish button.
  3. What to keep in mind when describing an image, is to ensure that a person can understand it even with their eyes closed. Click on the Edit tab next to the image and type (or copy and paste from a text document) your description of the photo.

Within the image text box you can tag influencers, target locations and add a lot of metadata that increases the searchability of the image, and your post. When complete, click on the blue “Done Editing” button.

It’s that easy! Now anyone, even someone who can’t see your photo, can use adaptive software to read or hear your message, and fully understand the accompanying photo.

Accessible Video on Facebook

As content publishers working to increase the reach of your posts, photos are great, but on Facebook, video is king! In fact, content creators are rewarded by the Facebook search algorithm for posting Native Video as opposed to links to outside sources, such as YouTube.

AMI wants “all” of your video content published on Facebook to be accessible for people of “all” abilities. That’s why we suggest publishing natively on the platform, as opposed to using YouTube links or such, as it not only unlocks the Facebook accessibility features, but also increases your reach to the massive Facebook community online. 

  1. So how does one go about making their video posts as accessible as possible? Try shooting your videos with integrated described video, or by integrating audio description into your post-production process. While both are great ideas for making your content more accessible, we are only going to focus on adding captions (otherwise known as subtitles) to your Facebook videos.
  2. Upload the video to your timeline using the “Share a photo or video” button. After adding a thumbnail, title, description, tags and tagging influencers, click on the Captions tab in the centre of the pop-up window. 
  3. Now click on the “Upload SRT file” button and choose your caption file.
    A note about the file type and name: whether you are using a 3rd party caption service to create your subtitles, or using YouTube’s free Auto-caption feature to generate the file, to be integrated with the Facebook video player, the caption file must be an .SRT; and a special file extension will need to be added to the file name. The extension in English is: .en_US.srt and in French is: .fr_US.srt
  4. And that’s that. Caption added. Now Publish or Schedule at your leisure. Adding accessible captions to Facebook videos really is that easy!

More information on Accessible Social Media

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