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25 actions include everything from accepting the criticism to with hearing impairments to access video and audio compo- not responding at all. The city of Edmonton, Alberta, offers nents. Other good practices for website accessibility include the following guidance to its employees, who include staff visual contrast, adjustable text sizes, keyboard navigation for of the Edmonton Transit System: "Be respectful. Encourage people with impaired mobility, and color schemes that color- constructive criticism and deliberation. Be friendly, honest and blind readers can recognize. Social media applications have professional at all times." The Center for Association Leader- not yet completely caught up, however, and their heavy reli- ship encourages nonprofits to consider negative feedback as "a ance on graphics, videos, and user-generated content has cre- golden opportunity to fix misperceptions" (2629). ated specific accessibility challenges. To help respond to online comments, both positive and Web Accessibility in Mind (WebAIM), an organization negative, industry experts suggest keeping social media com- within the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State munications informal and genuine while tailoring information University, surveyed individuals who use assistive screen to the intended audience. Key characteristics include (30): readers to rate the accessibility of social media sites. As Table 10 shows, the majority of these individuals (62%) Casual--Your social media communications will be mingled consider social media "somewhat accessible" overall. Twitter with personal messages from users' friends and family. Try to fit in. and blogs were the most accessible applications; 62% said Human--Social media are designed primarily to allow people Twitter was "very accessible" and 45% said the same for to socialize with people. blogs. LinkedIn scored lowest for accessibility; 31% said the Concise--Your content on social media outlets is forced to compete with countless personal messages, jokes, and games. site was very inaccessible for screen readers (32). Get to the point. Many of the recommended steps for improving the The EPA, one of the first federal organizations to develop accessibility of social media sites are consistent with good guidance for using social media, echoes these suggestions in web usability practices. These include providing descriptive its advice on finding a tone for social media posts: "Write in titles for photographs and graphic images in the source code an informal, personal tone. Think party conversation, not news (also known as ALT tags) and including captions for videos. release or fact sheet" (31). One survey respondent offered a Some third-party applications are available that provide an similar comment: "Tone is important: Lose the auto-posts alternate accessible interface to existing social media appli- and public agency speak. Connect with people like a human." cations, including Twitter and YouTube. Facebook provides guidance for readers using assistive technology and offers an option for disabling JavaScript features on the site. In addition, Accessibility for People with Disabilities some experts recommend posting a fully accessible version of social media content on a companion website (33). Maintaining Internet accessibility for people with disabilities has improved an alternate accessible site can also help agencies comply with substantially over the past few years, thanks to Section 508 records-retention requirements by facilitating archiving. accessibility requirements and standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium. For example, the guidelines One vexing concern is the widespread use of an appli are designed to ensure that website content can be accessed cation called CAPTCHA, which stands for Completely by users with visual impairments, especially those who use Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans assistive devices such as screen readers, and to enable users Apart. CAPTCHA is a program designed to make sure that Table 10 Users of Screen Readers Rate Social Media Sites on Accessibility Very Somewhat Somewhat Very Platform No. Accessible Accessible Inaccessible Inaccessible Social Media Overall 462 10% 62% 23% 5% Blogs 467 45% 48% 6% 1% YouTube 425 26% 52% 14% 7% Facebook 359 10% 49% 28% 13% Twitter 278 62% 29% 5% 4% LinkedIn 164 10% 29% 30% 31% MySpace 107 39% 46% 10% 5% Source: "Screen Reader User Survey #2 Results" (32).