Social Media and Accessibility: Resources to Know

Content From: Deb LeBel, Partnerships Specialist, AIDS.govPublished: December 23, 20142 min read


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When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, there was no Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Since then, the number of social media channels, and their use for communication among all demographics, has grown exponentially. Unfortunately, however, despite newer ways to reach individuals living with disabilities, many individuals in this community face challenges in gaining full access to the content and conversation on social media platforms.

For managers of HIV-related social media channels, it is imperative to respond to the fact that nearly 1 in 5 individuals (19%) living in the U.S. functions with some kind of disability. The 19% includes people living with HIV, individuals who may be disproportionately at risk for getting HIV, and those who can help communicate about HIV prevention and care. In order to communicate more effectively about HIV, and to advance the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, we want to reach these individuals.

Today I am highlighting a few of the Federal resources related to enhancing social media access for people living with disabilities:

Toolkit: The Federal Social Media Community of Practice (COP) brings together more than 500 Federal social media managers in a community dedicated to identifying and solving shared challenges. Working together, COP members from the Social Media Accessibility Working Group, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, and the General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies have produced a toolkit on Improving the Accessibility of Social Media. The kit includes general accessibility tips, platform-specific tips, and additional resources.

Training: Digital Government University offers a series of on-demand video trainingsExit Disclaimer that address accessibility and social media challenges.

Blog: The DigitalGov Blog posts about accessibility issues. Check out this post on making accessible videos. Or learn about the ADA and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. (You can also check out the resources available on and

Event: The Federal Communications Commission Accessibility and Innovation Initiative hosted a public event, "Accessing Social Media," on July 17, 2014. In this cross-sector event, presenters highlighted resources, authoring tools, apps, and best practices. Slides are available on the FCC’s event page.

What resources have you found helpful in making your HIV-related content accessible for people with disabilities?