Becoming More Accessible on LinkedIn: Tips for Improving Your Reach

October 18, 2021

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network, and with more than 774 million members, it’s an important resource for businesses of all sizes. 

The American Foundation for the Blind describes LinkedIn’s website as “mostly accessible,” and like other major social platforms, LinkedIn has taken noteworthy steps to improve access for people with disabilities. However, individual posts can still make mistakes that create barriers for some users. 

In this article, we’ll discuss a few ways to create accessible LinkedIn content. Accessibility can help to improve your brand’s reputation and extend your reach — and by considering how your posts affect your audience, you can easily improve your approach. 

Add descriptive alternative text to your LinkedIn posts

Alternative text (or alt text) describes the appearance and function of visual media. If a reader can’t view an image on your LinkedIn post — which can occur if they have vision disabilities, if they have a slow internet connection, or for various other reasons — the alternative text provides important context. 

To add alternative text to images you embed in articles or share on your LinkedIn feed, select “Add description" at the top-right of the image. This feature is currently only available for desktop users, so if you upload images from your mobile device, make sure you add image descriptions as soon as you have the opportunity.

Some quick tips for writing alternative text for images:

  • Describe the image using the first words that come to mind.
  • Don’t use phrases like “picture of a…" or “image of…" when writing. Assistive technologies will automatically tell the reader that the page contains an image.
  • Keep your descriptions short and to the point. Don’t use nonessential adjectives.
  • If the image contains text, make sure the text appears in the description.

LinkedIn may attempt to automatically add alternative text for some images, but always review the auto-generated text for accuracy. While artificial intelligence can effectively describe some images, automatic descriptions can’t always provide enough context. 

Read: 5 Steps for Writing Alt Text for Accessibility

Add closed captions to LinkedIn videos

Closed captions can improve your video’s reach significantly. People with hearing-related disabilities will have more ways to interact with your content, and users who browse without sound will appreciate the consideration. 

LinkedIn has limited video editing features, but the platform supports the widely used SubRip Subtitle (SRT) video caption format. Other platforms like Facebook also support SRTs, and if you’re uploading media to multiple websites, you can use the same SRT file to limit your work. 

To load an SRT file into LinkedIn:

  • Click the Video icon on the LinkedIn desktop home page.
  • Select your video and upload it.
  • Select the “Edit" button in the top-right corner of the video’s settings.
  • Choose “Select Caption" to attach the SRT. 

Preview your video before publishing it. Remember, some users won’t want to click on videos, so provide enough context in your post to explain the video’s content.

Read: Internet Closed Captioning Requirements 

Make sure your LinkedIn posts follow the best practices of accessible content

Before publishing each post, review it thoroughly. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is the most frequently cited set of standards for digital accessibility, and many WCAG success criteria can be applied to social media posts.

For instance, content creators should:

  • Pay attention to color contrast. WCAG requires a color contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for readability. When posting images of text — which, again, should have appropriate descriptions — make sure that your media meets this threshold.
  • Use clear, concise language and avoid industry jargon. Provide explanations for any acronyms. 
  • Avoid content that flashes more than three times per second. Flashing content can trigger seizures, and some users may find it distracting or confusing.
  • Wherever possible, post the same content across all of your social media channels. Consider adding a page to your website to provide an overview of your social media activity.

LinkedIn continues to add accessibility features, but no social platform is 100% accessible for all people with disabilities. Content creators can help — by thinking about your audience and taking a few small steps to improve each post, you can make the internet a more useful and inclusive resource. 

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