m
Recent Posts
Connect with:
Tuesday / June 25.
HomeminewsGuide Dogs Calls for Accessible Social Media Content

Guide Dogs Calls for Accessible Social Media Content

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT has launched a new accessibility toolkit aimed at making social media more inclusive for people with low vision or blindness. The initiative, unveiled on Global Accessibility Awareness Day (16 May), is part of the organisations Boundless World Projects to remove barriers preventing equal access. 

New Research Highlights Digital Exclusion 

The toolkit release follows recent research commissioned by Guide Dogs Australia that revealed alarming levels of digital exclusion faced by clients with vision impairment. More than 75% of those surveyed by EY Sweeney reported experiencing barriers when using apps and online content, with one in three citing inaccessible apps and content as the main issue.1 

With an estimated 500,000 Australians living with low vision or blindness, the findings underscore the need for greater accessibility efforts by social media platforms and content creators.  

Simple Changes, Big Impact 

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Access and Technology Advisor Ben Moxey emphasised that achieving a truly accessible digital world requires a concerted effort, with social media playing a pivotal role. 

“Using this toolkit is a fantastic step in the right direction to ensure more content can be accessed by people with blindness or low vision,” Mr Moxey said. “From large organisations and brands to everyday Australians – it’s more important than ever to make social media content accessible. It’s time for all of us to realise that it’s not optional or a special request – it’s essential and the right thing to do. 

The toolkit provides guidance on simple yet effective techniques, such as adding alternative (alt) text, descriptive captions, or audio descriptions to videos, which can significantly improve accessibility for users with vision impairment. 

Voices from the Community 

Zara Perry, an 18-year-old Guide Dogs NSW client, shared her personal experiences with digital barriers and the isolation they can cause. 

“I use social media daily, and it’s such an important way for me to stay connected,” Ms Perry said. “When I can’t access the content, it really limits this social inclusion and feels really isolating, especially for a community that relies more heavily on social media as a way to access the world because it’s harder to physically get out.” 

Ms Perry highlighted common obstacles, such as images without alt text or videos lacking voice overlay or descriptive audio, which prevent her from fully engaging with online content. 

“As with anything else in our everyday lives, we have the same right to use social media and access content as everyone else, but the fact we can’t is just a reminder of how people with low vision are often required to accept less,” she added. 

A Call to Action 

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT aims to raise awareness and encourage the broader community to “learn more to change more” by embracing inclusive practices that remove barriers for people with low vision or blindness. 

“If your content isn’t accessible, you’re excluding millions of people,” Mr Moxey emphasised. “We want to bring this issue front and centre to help close this knowledge gap and create a more inclusive world designed for those living with low vision and blindness.” 

By adopting the recommendations outlined in the accessibility toolkit, social media users and content creators can play a vital role in fostering a more inclusive digital landscape, ensuring that no one is left behind. 

 

Reference 

  1. According to a recent EY Sweeney report commissioned by Guide Dogs Australia which surveyed people with low vision or blindness to explore access issues including digital barriers.