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Seven Easy Ways To Make Your Content More Accessible In 2023

It's officially a new year, which means a lot of us are trying to stick to our resolutions! Whether it's hitting the gym more often or cutting back on spending, most of us have the common goal of wanting to create new habits or break old ones.

We've got a few resolutions here at Look Local First, but one of our biggest priorities in 2023 is to create content that is accessible and engaging for everyone-including those with disabilities. We are committed to building a community based on diversity, equity, and inclusion! It can seem like a huge undertaking but we've got seven EASY ways you can create accessible content.

1. Caption Your Video Content

Closed captioning allows people in the hearing-impaired community to enjoy video and story content without manually turning them on. It also ensures that they don't have to rely on the content platform's auto translations, which aren't always the most accurate. Added closed captioning also makes the content accessible to those with visual impairments because it allows them to enlarge the text on the screen. Closed captioning also gives people who speak other languages the ability to translate the captions into the language of their choice!

2. Add Alt Text To Images

Alt text is a DETAILED description of what's happening in the image that's posted. By adding alt text, content can be enjoyed by those with visual impairments. Most major social media platforms have the option to automatically provide alt text for posts via personal account settings. The alt text will be embedded in the images and then can be read aloud by assistive technology, like screen readers.

3. Add Image Descriptions To Captions

We know we just touched on adding alt text to photos, but adding additional image descriptions can serve multiple purposes. Not only do they provide a much more detailed description of what's happening in the image, but they are also a great way to help visually impaired people who may not have access to assistive technology that reads alt text. It creates another level of accessibility because captions can easily be translated into different languages, while alt text can't!

4. Limit the Use of Emojis

Assistive devices pick up on emojis and will read out the title of each one in a caption. That means that when a caption has five red heart emojis in it, the assistive device will read out "red heart emoji" 5 separate times. This isn't to say to stop using emojis entirely, but to be more conscious about what emojis you're using and how many you're using.

5. Make #HashTags Accessible

Hashtags are a great way to help people find and connect with content that they enjoy! Unfortunately, hashtags can't be read aloud by assistive devices properly if the entire hashtag is in lowercase. By capitalizing each word in a hashtag, assistive devices can read them the way they should be. Check out our examples below!

#ThisIsAnAccessibleHashtag #thisisnotanaccessiblehashtag

6. Pay Attention To Contrast & Font Size On Graphics.

It's very easy to get caught up in how aesthetically pleasing decorative fonts and color combos are! But sometimes those fonts or color combinations make it more difficult for people with vision impairments to enjoy. When creating graphics, be conscious of the font, font size, and colors used. What may seem easy to read for us may be more difficult for others. Adding contrast between the background and font, lifting text, and using easy-to-read fonts will make a huge difference!

7. Remain Open To Feedback

Be open to feedback from those who may have accessibility issues. It may take some time to adjust to changes to the way you post. However, by doing so you are allowing people to access and enjoy your content that may not have before! It is important to keep an open mind and listen to those who experience accessibility issues regularly. The effort will truly be appreciated! It is also important to be patient with yourself. These small changes will make a big difference!

We hope your new year is already off to a great start and look forward to all of the big things to come!

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