December 3, 2023

Checklist for Inclusive Tweeting

Author: Lisa Nielsen
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Twitter is an important platform for sharing stories, ideas, and connecting with others. However, many Tweeters are unintentionally leaving out 15% of the world’s population who have disabilities by not composing accessible Tweets.  Fortunately, making accessible Tweets only requires awareness in a few areas.

Camel Case Hashtags

When you use hashtags, make them camel case.  This means the first letter of each word is capital. This then becomes discernible to a screen reader allow the words to be read individually rather than a nonsensical word.

The example below shows an example of using camel case for the #GovTechLive conference.

Avoid URL Shorteners

In the early days of Twitter, we shortened URLs because of the character limitation. Today URLs are no longer judged by characters, so it is not necessary. When you use a URL shortener, the screen reader says every letter. If you use the original URL most screen readers can read the words in the URL.

Plain English

Write using plain English. Some ways to do this include avoiding acronyms and writing below a 9th grade reading level. Most word processing programs have readability checkers built in. Online documents such as Google have extensions you can add.

Alt Text

Use alt text (short for alternative text) to tell those viewing your Tweet what is in the image. On Twitter you can set this up by going to “Settings and privacy,” then selecting “Accessibility” and checking “Compose image descriptions.”

Screenshot showing the three steps to set up alt text. 1) Settings and privacy 2) Accessibility 3) Check compose image descriptions

The next time you compose a Tweet with an image, Twitter will ask you to “Add description” to your images. It will look like the screen shot below.

Screenshot of what you see "add description" when you set up alt text in Twitter.

To see if someone has added alt text to their Tweet, you can inspect the image by right clicking. Once there you can check accessibility to see if there is a description. The screenshot below shows what this looks like.
Screenshot of inspecting an image and then checking if there is alt text for that image.

Your Turn

What do you think? Are you already including some of these checklist items into your Tweets? If not are these checklist items something you would consider incorporating into future Tweets?  

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