Today, I learned that twitter will be increasing their character limit from 140 characters to 10,000 characters per tweet. I’ll need to cut down on my chats when this goes live. I can barely keep up with the current limit as it is!
It could be a good thing if people used it to include image descriptions, though. It got me thinking about some changes that COULD make social media networks more accessible.
Screen Reader Friendly Images
First and foremost would be an easier way of including image descriptions for screen reader users. As it stands now, there’s no way of doing that on twitter. The only place for image descriptions on platforms like Facebook and Tumblr are in the text area, which can clutter up that field. That makes it harder for dyslexics and those with other reading difficulties to process that information.
Is there a way to add an alt- section? What about a section addressing how to use the new field, both for people who need readers and for people who want to make their posts more accessible?
While we’re at it, how about we make captioning videos easier, too? YouTube did it, so why can’t other platforms?
Customizable Text/Background Colors
This could help people with scotopic sensitivity syndrome and those of us with dyslexia immensely. Bright white backgrounds are hard on the eyes and encourages reversals, warping and other issues.
Although there are browser add-ons and downloadable programs, it would be much easier to have options within the social media network. To be fair, there are probably networks with this capability, but it should be more wide-spread than it is now.
We’re each responsible for our internet experience. Sure, we can unfollow and block people on Facebook, block or mute people on twitter and block people on Tumblr, but why can’t we do the same for certain topics on each of these forums?
Again, there are programs you can download to do just that, like Tumblr Savior, but wouldn’t it be better if that capability was built right into the network?
In addition to improving what a user sees and doesn’t on each network, this would be incredibly helpful for people with PTSD who are still working through their experiences. Those who are not yet ready to face triggers would be able to use the various forums without being on edge about being subjected to unexpected known triggers.
This would also be helpful for people who need to focus on a specific topic for work or school, but have trouble with distractions. By eliminating distracting topics, they may be able to finish their tasks more quickly and easily.
So, what say you, social media owners and engineers? Are you listening?
What about you, readers? Do you agree with me? What are your suggestions?
Let’s share this post and see if any change comes of it.