LinkedIn makes it easy to create posts that are accessible to everyone, but there are some things you should consider when you create a post.
- Ensure sufficient contrast
- Add alternative text to images
- Caption video content
- Do not rely on color alone to convey information
- Avoid flashing content
- Avoid endlessly moving content, whenever possible
Detailed instructions for doing each of these is below.
Ensure Sufficient Contrast
When you create a post that includes an image with text overtop of it, make sure the text has enough contrast with the background to allow individuals to easily read it.
When we talk about contrast we usually mean how much difference there is between text or other page content and the background. In short, how well does the content stand out. For example, light gray text on a white background is hard to read. When people age or have a visual impairment, high contrast makes reading and understanding content much easier. Standards require at least a 4.5:1 color contrast ratio and some recommend a 7:1 color contrast ratio. While it is a bit of an oversimplification, you can think of this as the content color being 4.5 or 7 times brighter or darker than the background color. Black text on a white background or white text on a black background is a 21:1 color contrast ratio.
My favorite tool for checking this is Colour Contrast Analyzer from the Paciello Group. It lets you use an eyedropper to sample the text/content color and the background color or you can enter in the color codes. It will tell you the color contrast ratio and let you play with the colors.
Add Alternative Text to Images
Individuals who are blind or who have trouble processing visual information, typically use a screen reader. This is an application that reads the contents of the webpage to them. These tools can recognize an image but can’t tell the user anything about it. It is your job when you create content to tell the screen reader what is important in the image.
If you are advertising events or providing inspirational quotes using images created by tools like Canva, which lay text over a background image, over 2 million potential viewers can’t read it. This is easy to fix.
Step 1: After you upload the image, go to “Add Alt Text”
After you upload your photo, you are taken to the “Edit your photo” window. Before you click Next, click on the “Add alt text” link on the bottom left.
Step 2: Type in alternative text
Enter new alternative text within the central box. Note that LinkedIn limits you to 120 characters.
In LinkedIn content, alt text will typically be a short description like “three young professionals talking about accessibility” but if the image you post is text on top of an image, then the alternative text will typically just be the text. When writing alternative text, ask yourself what information the image adds to the post or what would be lost if the image wasn’t visible. Then fill the gap in using the alternative text.
Step 3: Save the Image
Caption video content
If you are posting video content, caption it beforehand and consider providing a link to a transcript. Assuming you are posting a YouTube video, you can use the Creator Studio in YouTube to caption your video before posting. Most video creation software will also allow you to add captions in some form.
Do not rely on color alone to convey information
Look at your posts and ask yourself, is color used to give information? For example, a dot that is red when there is an issue or blue when there is not or a pie chart with a colored legend.
If the answer is yes, imagine the content in grayscale (or print preview the content in grayscale). Does it still make sense? If not, add labels or make other adjustments so it works.
Avoid flashing content
Flashing content can cause migraines and seizures. Flashing is any quick switch from high contrast to low contrast that happens more than 3 times second but is slow enough to still be visible (3-50 flashes per second).
Just don’t do this. Please.
Avoid endlessly moving content, whenever possible
Another challenge is moving content that can’t be paused or stopped. For some individuals this is highly distracting and can even negate all other visible information. Think strongly before including animated gifs that endlessly loop in your posts.