Social media allows anyone with an internet connection to connect with other people and participate online, but for people with a hearing, sight or mobility impairment, social media websites and applications are not always easy to use. New research by Media Access Australia examines the accessibility of the most popular social media tools and shares practical advice from users on how to overcome inaccessible features.

The SociABILITY: social media for people with a disability review aims to help people with a disability participate.

Over the course of the eight-month project Dr Scott Hollier, one of Australia's leading internet accessibility experts who is himself legally blind, consulted with users with disabilities about their experiences using social media. Dr Hollier then produced a social media guide and series of tip sheets with useful informatuion about how PWD can access various platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype and some tips on how to blog.  

Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes AM, himself a frequent Twitter user, yesterday commended the report saying, "It’s critical that – as we get more and more connected as a community – people with disability are not left out. This report will be a very useful tool in ensuring that does not occur.”

The SociABILITY review has a dual focus, the first being to provide a high-level overview of the current state of social media accessibility. This includes discussion on the changes to social media in recent years, how accessibility has been adopted by social media provider and the likely social media future trends. The second focus is on providing specific and practical tools for consumers. Chapter 3 discusses the accessibility of popular internet enabled digital technologies including traditional computers and mobile devices. Chapters 4 to 9 then provide practical guides that take users through an introduction to the key features, common accessibility challenges, and creative workarounds of 6 social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn YouTube, Twitter, Skype and blogging sites. 

The SociABILITY resources also include quick tip sheets on each on the platforms, which can be found here.

Download: Sociability: social media for people with a disability [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 1.1 MB]

Download: Sociability: social media for people with a disability [Microsoft Word Document - 395 KB]