Social networking accessibility (2012)

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A look at the accessibility of the three most popular social networking platforms (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), the tools and applications people use to access them, and ways to make communication through social networking more accessible.

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  • Social networking has become a daily activity for many people around the world.
  • Increasingly businesses are recognising the benefits of social networking to promote their services and engage with customers.
  • Governments are taking more tentative steps towards social networking, but both government organisations and individual MPs are increasingly seeing social networking as a viable communication platform.
  • Social networking is about people communicating, sharing, interacting, contributing and bonding. It's humanity at its best.
  • Three of the most popular social networking platforms are Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
  • Twitter has more than 500 million users growing by 500 thousand people every day, sending over 1 billion tweets every 72 hours.
  • Facebook has more than 900 million users who spend more than 700 billion minutes on it each month, and install more than 20 million apps each day.
  • YouTube has more than 800 million unique visitors each month, who watch more than 4 billion videos every day (that's the equivalent of 500 years of TV).
  • Colour contrast is often insufficient on the Twitter website, making it difficult for partially sighted people to read content comfortably.
  • The spoken language of the website isn't identified, neither is the spoken language of tweets in other languages, making it impossible for screen readers to switch accent and pronunciation correctly.
  • Form fields do not have labels on the Twitter website, making it difficult for screen reader users to know what information should be entered into each field.
  • Many images are uploaded to Facebook without text descriptions (captions), making it impossible for blind people to enjoy them.
  • Functionality on the Facebook website often requires a mouse, making it impossible for people with mobility disabilities to carry out some tasks.
  • The heading structure throughout the Facebook website is erratic, making it awkward for screen reader users to easily navigate each page and understand how content is structured.
  • Video content is often uploaded to YouTube without a transcript or captions, making it impossible for Deaf people to enjoy.
  • The YouTube website doesn't include a skip link that takes focus to the video player, making it hard for people with mobility disabilities to move easily to the most important part of the page.
  • It's often not possible to tell where keyboard focus is on the YouTube website, making it impossible for sighted keyboard only users to know where they are on the page. 
  • Easy Chirp is a highly accessible and user friendly alternative to the Twitter website. It has good colour contrast, full keyboard accessibility, and excellent content structure.http://www.easychirp.com/
  • The mobile version of the Twitter website is much more simple, and coincidentally more accessible because of its reduced functionality. http://mobile.twitter.com
  • Twitterific is a mainstream application for the Mac, that has good accessibility with the VoiceOver screen reader.http://twitterrific.com/
  • The Qube is a Twitter application designed specifically for blind people. It's compatible with most popular Windows screen readers.http://www.quartzprojects.co.uk/
  • TwInbox is an application that integrates with Outlook, making Twitter as accessible as email.http://www.techhit.com/TwInbox/twitter_plugin_outlook.html
  • Facely HD is a Facebook app that's very accessible with VoiceOver on the iPhone.http://app.net/developer/px/g-whizz-apps/
  • Windows Messenger can be integrated with Facebook to provide an accessible alternative to Facebook chat and many other features.
  • Nomensa's Accessible Media Player (AMP) is fully keyboard accessible, simple to use and comes with support for captions.http://www.github.com/nomensa/
  • Using proper words and phrases, and avoiding too many abbreviations makes tweets more readible and understandable for everyone.
  • Capitalising multi-word hashtags makes them more readible, and more intelligible when spoken by a screen reader.
  • Adding a caption that describes the photo makes it possible for blind and partially sighted people to enjoy.
  • Facebook updates should use plain and simple language, and should avoid presenting text in graphical form.
  • A transcript that includes both audio and visual information, is a useful alternative for people who are Deaf, hard or hearing, blind or partially sighted.
  • YouTube uses Google's voice recognition capability to automatically synchronise the text in a transcript with the spoken dialogue in the video, to create closed captions.
  • When customising your social networking pages, keeping your brand identity strong helps create a sense of trust. Following best practice for colour contrast and readavility will also help people engage with you more easily.
  • YouTube uses Google's voice recognition capability to automatically synchronise the text in a transcript with the spoken dialogue in the video, to create closed captions.
  • Social networking accessibility (2012)

    1. 1. Social Networking Accessibility Léonie Watson Director of Accessibility, Nomensa @LeonieWatson @we_are_nomensa
    2. 2. Why is social networking popular?
    3. 3. People and social networking• 62% of adults now use social networking;• 22% of time online is spent social networking.
    4. 4. Businesses and social networking• 65% of the worlds top companies use social networking;• Revenue from social networking commerce will hit £5.75 billion (AUS$8.9b) in 2012.
    5. 5. Government and social networking • More than half of UK MPs and nearly half of Australian MPs use Twitter; • The Australian and UK governments both have Facebook pages.
    6. 6. Social networking appeal
    7. 7. Who are the social networking players?
    8. 8. The big three
    9. 9. Twitter statistics• More than 500 million users;• Over 340 million tweets every day.
    10. 10. Facebook statistics• More than 900 million users;• 20 million apps installed every day.
    11. 11. Youtube statistics• More than 800 million unique visitors each month;• Over 4 billion videos viewed every day.
    12. 12. How accessible is social networking?
    13. 13. Twitter website
    14. 14. Twitter colour contrast
    15. 15. Twitter spoken language
    16. 16. Twitter: Form labels
    17. 17. Facebook website
    18. 18. Facebook: Text descriptions
    19. 19. Facebook: Keyboard only
    20. 20. Facebook: Heading Structure
    21. 21. Youtube website
    22. 22. Youtube: Transcripts and captions
    23. 23. Youtube: Skip links
    24. 24. Youtube: Keyboard focus
    25. 25. Are there social networking alternatives?
    26. 26. Easy Chirp
    27. 27. Mobile.Twitter
    28. 28. Twiterific
    29. 29. The Qube
    30. 30. Twinbox<Screenshot of TwInbox/Outlook>
    31. 31. Facely HD
    32. 32. Windows Messenger
    33. 33. Nomensa AMP
    34. 34. How can social networking be more accessible?
    35. 35. Twitter tweets• Use proper words and phrases;• Avoid excessive acronyms and abbreviations.
    36. 36. Twitter hashtags#thishastagisnotgood;#ThisHashtagIsGreat.
    37. 37. Facebook photos• Add captions to photos;• Describe the content of the image.
    38. 38. Facebook updates• Use plain and simple language;• Avoid displaying text in images.
    39. 39. YouTube transcripts• Create a text transcript;• Include dialogue, important sound effects and short visual descriptions.
    40. 40. YouTube captions• Create a dialogue only transcript;• Use YouTubes Autocaps to create captions.
    41. 41. Brand identity• Make it easy to identify your brand, and create trust through brand recognition;• Avoid busy background patterns, and choose colour schemes with good contrast that represent your brand.
    42. 42. Multi channel• Communicate through different channels, and over different social networks;• Provide information in different formats, and in different ways.
    43. 43. Thank you!
    44. 44. AcknowledgementThank you to Denis Boudreau of AccessibilitéWeb for initial thoughts and inspiration @dboudreau http://accessibiliteweb.com

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