Accessible Instagram posts empower individuals with visual impairments, hearing impairments, or other disabilities. They enable them to access and enjoy the visual storytelling and vibrant community on the platform. Through the power of accessible Instagram posts, we can create a more inclusive and diverse online space. A space where every user can actively participate, share their stories, and connect with others on equal footing.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that approximately 15% of the global population experiences varying degrees of disability.
Embracing an accessibility-focused strategy in your Instagram marketing endeavors will not only cater to individuals with disabilities. And also enhance the overall engagement of your entire audience with your content.
Numerous specialists advocate that prioritizing inclusivity is not just a means to potentially boost your company’s revenue by significant amounts. Moreover, it is the morally correct course of action. By ensuring that your content is accessible, you will effectively reach the widest audience possible with your message.
Alt text for accessible Instagram posts
Are you currently utilizing Instagram alt text? If not, I strongly recommend you do so right away.
Alt text, also known as “alternative text,” plays a crucial role in enhancing accessibility and improving user experience on Instagram. Its significance becomes even more pronounced when it comes to reaching new and diverse audiences. Additionally, alt text holds importance for Instagram’s algorithm. As it relies on this text to comprehend the essence of a post.
What exactly is accessible Instagram alt text?
Instagram alt text is a description of the contents of an Instagram post. In addition to a photo, video, carousel post, or Instagram Story. The alt text appears when an image loads slowly or fails to load, or read aloud by screen readers.
While Instagram generates automatic alt text for posts, the generated text may not always accurately represent the image. Therefore, it is crucial to add your own alt text on Instagram.
Why is accessible Instagram alt text important?
The significance of Instagram alt text lies in its ability to enhance accessibility on the platform. Instagram users with visual impairments or other disabilities often rely on screen readers that verbally describe on-screen images. By providing alt text for your Instagram posts, you ensure that your content is accessible to these users. Accessible Instagram alt text helps to maintain a seamless experience for them.
Incorporating alt text on Instagram can also contribute to better performance of your posts in terms of search engine optimization.
When determining which posts to display in users’ feeds, Instagram’s algorithm takes into consideration the words used in the posts. By including relevant keywords in your descriptive alt text, you enable Instagram’s algorithm to recognize the relevance of your post. Consequently, users with interest in your content, are more likely to see your posts.
How to add alt text to create accessible Instagram posts?
Launch the Instagram app on your phone. Select and edit your photo, go to Advanced Settings, and tap on write alt text.
You can now write the alt text, and click the checkmark or Done button at the top-right corner. Now you can add your Instagram post as usual. When uploading image on a desktop, move through post-creation process, and choose Accessibility on the last screen.
How to write great alt text to create accessible Instagram posts?
If you’re new or just want to make sure you’re doing it right, here are some best practices to follow. We’ll also include some alt text on Instagram examples to kickstart thing.
Be clear but descriptive
The purpose of Instagram alt text is to accurately describe the image you are posting. The alt text must provide enough detail to help the user understand what’s in your Instagram post.
The best alt text for Instagram accurately describes the image you’re posting, without being too long or cluttered. Instagram allows for up to 100 characters of alt text. And some screen readers also cut off the content at 125 characters. So make sure your text is concise, as well as descriptive.
Keep your alt text relevant
By the way, users often fill Instagram alt text with random hashtags or irrelevant jokes. An irrelevant Instagram alt text can be quite confusing for users and eventually backfire on you. Be sure to write Instagram alt text that is authentic and relevant to the image or video.
Use photo IDs
Some Instagram users choose to use photo IDs, as well as Instagram alt text. This offers a more complete description of their posts. Instagram photo IDs are shorter descriptions at the end of Instagram captions. They provide an additional layer of information for screen-reading programs to identify an Instagram post.
The benefit of Instagram photo IDs is that you have more room to include additional details. Besides that Instagram alt text cannot accommodate.
Describe text in images
If your Instagram post includes text as part of an image, be sure to include it in your alt text. Screen readers cannot read image text, so provide alternate methods.
Avoid filler words
The best alt text for Instagram posts will provide useful information without being too wordy. Difficult vocabulary and irrelevant information make it hard for screen readers to follow. Search engines will also have trouble determining what it is about.
Similarly, avoid phrases like “picture of”, “video of”, or “photo of” and instead focus on describing the scene. Users already know Instagram is a visual platform, so there’s no need to reiterate.
Include keywords (sparingly)
Keywords can be an effective way to boost your Instagram SEO, but excessive use of keywords can be detrimental. Instagram alt text with keyword stuffing scores poorly on search engines results pages. Instead, use keywords only when they fit naturally into your alt text.
Don’t be repetitive
Finally, be sure to avoid repeating information that is already in the Instagram post. Screen readers read captions out loud, so point in including the same in your alt text.
Translations in Instagram Feed, Profile, and Stories
If your Instagram audience is global the Translations feature allows users to understand what you have to say.
Adding captions to videos
When recording videos for Instagram stories you may be in the moment and eager to share what’s going on. But slow down a minute. Have you considered what it would be like for someone who can’t hear fully or at all? Set your audio to mute and run Instagram stories and see how your audience rely on audio-only. You’ll soon realize how your audio content can instantly exclude people.
For those who are hearing impaired, you can simply make your content inclusive by adding captions to the stories. If you have long videos you can use transcript apps such as Cliptomatic and Caption This.
Tips to make accessible Instagram posts
Keep your posts succinct
You have a brief second to capture someone’s attention. Keep your content as concise as possible without compromising your message. Make important information clear and break up long content into shorter paragraphs. This will improve the experience for users on the autism spectrum, with dyslexia, and who have heightened anxiety.
Limit usage of emojis
Emojis are a great way to communicate in a way that’s universal. They’re not language-specific, and they can add a lot of personality and fun to your Instagram content. Be aware that screen readers will read the title of each emoji aloud, no matter how many emojis there are. So if you write full sentences using emojis, or use three rows of hearts to convey your love. Always consider users who will have to listen to your emojis rather than just glance at them.
Place hashtags in your comments
Raise your hand if you post hashtags in the comments instead of at the end of your post. While this helps to get around hashtag limits, it is an accessible option for people using screen readers.
Instagram’s algorithms detect hashtags in your comments, but screen readers cannot read the same as part of your post. Using CamelCase in your hashtags is another great way to improve readability, for example, #InclusiveDesign #DigitalMarketing #AccessibleForAll.
Provide subtitles for video content
Adding video subtitles used to require access to video editing software. But now there are apps on iOS and Android that generate subtitles for you using AI. MixCaptions on iOS and AutoCap on Android are two reputable solutions for creating your subtitles automatically. Make sure to proof the subtitles for accuracy and edit before sharing your video on Instagram.
Add video descriptions
Provide a video transcript within your post or a short description if it’s more than a couple of minutes long. Subtitles embedded within the video will be accessible to those with hearing impairments but not to those using screen readers.
Optimize color contrast
For users who are colorblind, you should be providing optimal color contrast for any text you’re overlaying on your image. When you’re posting Instagram Stories, use Instagram’s text tool to change the text color and size. Also add a background to make the text easy to read. Avoid using decorative fonts as these can make it difficult for users to read your posts.
Avoid posting crucial information in your Instagram Stories
Unfortunately, Instagram Stories are not accessible by screen readers. If you’re making a special announcement or doing a promotion, make sure you’re posting that same content in your feed. That way it is available in both places. This will also make it easier for people to find the content after your Story has expired.
Accessible Instagram tips will make your content more accessible to its 150 million users with disabilities. Naturally it improves usability for everyone.
Accessible Instagram posts allow you to appreciate content that’s clear and doesn’t leave you confused or waste your time. Remind yourself that it’s a privilege to scroll through your Instagram posts that are accessible and usable. Any steps you take towards accessibility will add up and become part of your routine in no time.