Monday, July 24th, 2017 | 6 min read
With 2.8 billion people active on social media, it’s clear just how important it is for brands to provide a great user experience across the digital landscape. But while brands may be posting engaging content, it may not be easy for everyone to understand or interact with.
Below are ways that brands can make their social content more accessible for global customers, people with disabilities, and mobile users with lower connectivity.
According to the World Health Organization, 285 million people around the world are visually impaired and 360 million have disabling hearing loss. Adding captions to videos and photos enables more people to consume a brand’s content. If possible, include an audio description and a full transcript for each video to help people have an even clearer picture of what’s happening on the screen.
You can also make sure captions are in multiple languages. YouTube, for example, has translation tools that can help a brand expand its global reach.
Embedded content, image size, and the amount of content on a page can affect load time on a device – especially for mobile users with low connectivity. Instead of complex graphics, brands might consider using simple and clean imagery. It can also help to reduce or eliminate animated or interactive elements that could slow down load time.
Using simple graphics in your brand advertisements also makes it easier for assistive technologies to interpret photos for people who are visually impaired.
Facebook automatically translates posts based on language settings, but it also provides the ability to post content in multiple languages. Enable multi-lingual posting in your settings so consumers can see your content in their preferred language.
Alt text comes in handy for people who may not see images due to low connectivity. It also allows screen readers and artificial intelligences to describe photos to people who are visually impaired.
Facebook is one platform that’s using artificial intelligence to improve accessibility for people who are blind or visually impaired. Automatic alt text generates a description of a photo and then leverages voiceover technology or screen readers to describe photos out loud. If you use Twitter, you can add alt text descriptions up to 420 characters long.
Adding alt text that accurately describes an image – and including keywords when it makes sense to do so – can also help search engines index content properly and improve SEO.
Because people in developing countries often have limited connectivity, it’s important to consider the ways in which they can access your content. YouTube offers consumers the ability to change video quality; this is a great option for people who are using older technologies or don’t have a lot of bandwidth to spare.
Facebook slideshow is another option. Slideshow makes it easy for brands to create “lightweight” videos that are accessible in high-growth markets. Because they work on low connectivity, brands can use this sort of video to reach more people. Bandwidth targeting on Facebook also gives brands the ability to deliver ads based on the quality of a consumer’s network connection.
Brands can use Instant Articles to quickly publish content on Facebook’s app. Designed for people with slower connections, Instant Articles load up to 10 times faster than mobile web articles.
On average, people with slower connections read 20-40% more Instant Articles than mobile web articles. Brands can also monetize Instant Articles and further engage people by adding email signup forms.
It’s no secret that Facebook uses a lot of data. As a result, many consumers use the basic version of the platform. While ads don’t appear on the basic version, it’s good for brands to see what their content looks like on a more simplified platform.
Android users may also have Facebook Lite, which takes up less space and uses less data. Facebook Lite allows brands to reach consumers who have older devices, 2G networks, and a spotty or slow connection. Though Facebook Lite started out very simple, its popularity has prompted Facebook to include features such as multiple photo uploads and support for lower-resolution videos. As it continues to grow – especially in developing countries – brands will want to consider how to create content that works well for this version.
Providing incredible customer experiences on social is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. And as social platforms continue to grow in popularity, it’s becoming more crucial each day to create and deliver content that caters to the needs and preferences of an increasingly diverse audience.
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