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Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Babs Guthrie

It's Global Accessibility Awareness Day. To celebrate we wanted to share some of the things we do to make our content accessible for everyone with MS.

The idea behind the day is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion. And the more than one billion disabled people world-wide who often face barriers using the web.

Accessibility removes barriers and unlocks the possible

Every user deserves a first-rate digital experience on the web. Disabled people must be able to experience web-based services, content and other digital products with the same successful outcome as people who aren't disabled.

In the UK alone there are 14.1 million disabled people. 1.5 million people have a learning difficulty. And 7 million people have dyslexia.

And we know there are many people in our MS community who have symptoms like optic neuritis, cog fog, tremor, or can't use their hands.

What do we do to make sure we're accessible?

There's a lot going on behind the scenes to make our tools and services work for everyone with MS, their friends and families. Our Digital and Content Team make sure the code used to build our digital platforms works with the technology disabled people use to browse the web. And our website complies with the web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA standard.

Read more in our accessibility statement

But there's some things that we do when we're writing our blogs or social media posts that make a big difference. And we wanted to share them with you.

We use Plain English

Plain English is a way of writing that puts the person who's going to read your words first. It's action based, clear and concise. And research shows most technical experts prefer it. It's also one of the 5 pillars of our MS Society tone of voice.

It means we use short sentences, avoid jargon. And always think of you, our reader, before we start.

We make our social posts accessible

There's a lot of little things we can all do to make our social media posts accessible. Our Social Media Manager Emma has written these tips to help you be more accessible.

Try captioning your images with alt text

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all have the option to add captions to images and gifs. These are vital for people using screen reading software to understand what's going on in your post. Particularly when most of the meaning is in the image.

Be careful how you use emojis

Emojis make things exciting and add a bit of variety to a post. And just like exclamation marks, should be used sparingly.

If you’ve tried using the accessibility features on your phone you will have discovered that a text reader will read out each and every emoji name. Hearing the word “party popper” repeated over and over and over again gets old very quickly.

Make your hashtags accessible

Long hash tags like #globalaccessibilityawarenessday can be hard to understand. We use CamelCase to make them easier to read. Both by humans and screen reading software.

As the name suggests, CamelCase is all about getting the bumps in the right places by using a capital letter at the start of each word within the hashtag.

So #globalaccessibilityawarenessday becomes #GlobalAccessibilityAwarenessDay (link opens in Twitter).

Constantly improving our accessibility

We're always working to improve our accessibility for all our users.

Read our accessibility statement to find out more

But for now we hope these simple tips that everyone can do will help you improve your own accessibility!

We updated this blog on 19-05-2022