As a digital marketer, I have never thought about people with visual disabilities and how they consume social media content. Recently I learned that blind people use a screen reader translate text on a computer screen. Computer screen readers translate text thru voice. What was interesting, is that the screen reader can only describe the images in a photo, but a blind person would never know who is in the image unless there is text along with the photo.
In the US alone there are currently 1.3 million legally blind individuals and an estimated 10 million who are legally blind or visually impaired. This is a large chunk of US consumers, many of who are consuming social media content on a daily basis.
Social Media has become one of the top marketing tools to engage consumers and drive awareness. It is earned media and very cost effective, especially if a post (image, video, etc.) goes viral. Realizing there are consumers who can’t visually interpret content the way an average person would, social media marketers need to be educated how best to develop content that is effectively communicated to the legally blind.
By providing captions on all of your photos and videos (i.e. Michael Phelps graces the cover of Wheaties box, Usher singing “Happy” to promote Pepsi) you are allowing screen readers to provide more information to the legally blind, which in turn provides more engagement and hopefully more revenue and loyalty.
So next time you go to post a photo or video on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter remember those who are visually challenged and think about how best to describe your visual content for better engagement.
Stats: National Federation of the Blind