Making Inclusivity Go Viral
In a relatively short span, TikTok has positioned itself as a video-sharing force to be reckoned with. It has manifested as a global phenomenon, captivating audiences with its short-form videos and fostering a vibrant community of creators. With over 1.5 billion active users worldwide, TikTok’s reach is undeniable. The platform’s popularity extends to businesses and B2B companies, with 90% of TikTok users following at least one business account. Although YouTube, its nearest competitor, holds around 2 billion users, TikTok boasts a younger demographic, with 43% of its users aged 18-24 compared to YouTube’s 23%. TikTok extends beyond its rep as a playground for fun and creativity; it’s also making waves in the business sector. Recent data shows that almost 60% of businesses are either using TikTok or considering its potential for their marketing strategy. That’s massive, considering TikTok’s newcomer status.
Social media video sharing platforms like TikTok have revolutionized the way we consume and share information. These platforms provide a dynamic and engaging medium for storytelling, education, and entertainment. They have democratized content creation, enabling anyone with a smartphone to become a creator and share their unique perspectives with the world.
What’s different about TikTok? It offers immediate, direct connection. The short video form is very effective, especially since people are so quick to swipe on to the next thing when navigating content. TikTok provides an expressive avenue for people to share stories, skills, and even knowledge. While users engage with dancing or comedy skits, they’re experiencing this as a way of connecting with people globally, instantaneously. Humans have always been strongly drawn to this type of connection and storytelling. It’s how we communicate some of the things that matter most. With TikTok, people get to skip the “small talk” (read: boring) stage of getting to know people. Instead they go straight for the things people personally want to relate. It’s like a global campfire, and we all get to sit around it while someone plays the guitar, another person tells ghost stories, and a third shows us their favorite way to make s’mores.
Why Is TikTok Accessibility So Critical?
There are a few reasons why accessibility is so key for TikTok and social media platforms in general. For one, that wonderful feeling of gathering and community doesn’t work when the medium is not inclusive for everyone. For another, all the great information and charismatic content in the world is useless to someone who can’t access it. It’s frustrating and disappointing. Not a feeling we want to give anyone, from a human or from a business perspective.
And, with literally more than a billion and a half TikTok users, a large chunk will have unique accessibility needs. Social media platforms need to be accessible to everyone, regardless of physical or cognitive abilities.
Accessibility, as described and detailed by the W3C’s WCAG guidelines, plays a crucial role in helping change the web at large, including social media platforms, so that they become more inclusive and welcoming to all users. By incorporating accessibility features, platforms like TikTok can empower individuals with disabilities to fully participate in the digital world. And that’s something we know is better for everyone.
Why TikTok Users and Businesses Can’t Overlook Accessibility
Accessibility is essential for TikTok users and businesses alike. Access means potential.
For users, accessibility on TikTok offers them an equal opportunity to engage, learn, laugh, and even cry with content that resonates with them.
For businesses, accessibility TikTok features translate to a wider audience reach. After all, an accessible platform is a more inclusive platform. It’s that simple. And, it doesn’t hurt that by making content and platforms accessible, businesses are demonstrating their commitment to inclusivity. Besides, accessibility is the law in many places.
TikTok’s Accessibility Arsenal
TikTok has made significant strides in upping its accessibility game. It now offers a range of accessibility features designed to make the platform more inclusive, including:
Automatically generated captions for videos, so users with hearing impairments can follow along with content.
Converts on-screen text to spoken audio, assisting users with visual impairments in accessing information.
Adjustable Text Size
Allows users to customize the text size to suit their visual needs.
Reduces the intensity of on-screen animations, minimizing potential triggers for users with vestibular disorders or photosensitivity.
TikTok Accessibility for All Users
How would you feel missing out on a trending video or a crucial piece of information just because there were no captions? TikTok’s accessibility features are designed to meet the needs of a diverse range of users, including those with hearing or visual impairments. Auto-captions and text-to-speech relay information to individuals with hearing impairments so they are part of the global conversation. Adjustable text size and reduced motion settings make the experience more comfortable for those with visual impairments. If you have a visual impairment, TikTok’s world is still not closed off to you.
TikTok’s Accessibility Trifecta: Creators, Viewers, Platform
Accessibility is crucial for all stakeholders in the TikTok ecosystem. For creators and for TikTok as a business, accessibility means growth, credibility, and staying relevant in an increasingly inclusive digital landscape.
|TikTok Viewers||TikTok Creators||TikTok Platform|
|TikTok viewers with disabilities benefit from a more inclusive and accessible platform. Nobody wants to feel left out.||Creators can expand their audience and reach users with disabilities by incorporating accessibility practices into their content.||By incorporating and encouraging accessibility, TikTok itself strengthens its reputation as a welcoming and diverse space.|
The Regulatory Dance: TikTok and Accessibility Regulations
Did you know that platforms like TikTok need to be aware of and even compliant with accessibility regulations across different countries? In America, for instance, there’s the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 508, which necessitate that digital platforms be accessible to everyone. If TikTok accessibility isn’t up to the mark, they might find themselves in choppy regulatory waters.
TikTok, like all digital platforms, must adhere to accessibility regulations. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 (and now 2.2), developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) provide a framework intended to advise and encourage actioning accessibility for websites and applications worldwide, so that they are equally available to people with disabilities.
What does all that mean for someone who may be less updated on accessibility details? Well, the WC3 is a nongovernmental organization, and the WCAG guidelines are not law in any governmental sense. However, and this is a big one, many or even most regulations and legal requirements around accessibility are based on the guidelines set forth in the WCAG. So, to give lawsuits and legal issues a miss, businesses must understand that accessibility isn’t optional any longer. It’s a must.
Because TikTok is a global happening, creators and business owners who publish to TikTok should also be careful to follow accessibility laws and regulations for any country where they have viewers.
A World Where Everyone Belongs
TikTok’s commitment to accessibility demonstrates the platform’s dedication to inclusivity and its recognition of the diverse needs of its users. By incorporating accessibility features and adhering to relevant regulations, TikTok is fostering a more equitable digital landscape, aligning with the human aspirations of equality and a future where everyone can participate fully in the digital world. As we all should.
Let’s dream a bit, a dream we can bring to reality, about a world where everyone, regardless of abilities, can share, laugh, learn, and be part of a bigger global story. That’s the hope, right? With platforms like TikTok paving the way, we inch closer to an era of digital equality, where everyone has a seat at the table.
What is TikTok accessibility?
TikTok accessibility refers to the platform’s efforts to make its features and content accessible to people with disabilities. This includes incorporating accessibility features like auto-captions, text-to-speech, and adjustable text size, as well as following accessibility guidelines and standards. It can also refer to a TikTok creator’s efforts to align their content with accessibility needs.
Why is TikTok accessibility important?
It means everyone can enjoy the platform, regardless of their abilities. It promotes inclusivity, allowing individuals with disabilities to fully participate in the TikTok community and access the platform’s content.
How can I enable TikTok’s accessibility features?
To enable TikTok’s accessibility features, go to your profile settings, tap on ‘Accessibility,’ and toggle on the features you want to use.
What can I do as a TikTok creator to make my content more accessible?
As a TikTok creator, you can make your content more accessible by adding captions to your videos, using clear and concise language, and avoiding flashing or flickering effects.
How does TikTok’s auto-caption feature work?
Auto-captions automatically generate text captions for videos based on the audio. When a creator uploads a video, TikTok will transcribe the audio into captions, which users can choose to display while watching. This is particularly useful for users with hearing impairments.
Is there an option for manual captions on TikTok, in case the auto-generated ones are inaccurate?
Yes! Creators have the option to edit the auto-generated captions or add manual captions to their videos to ensure accuracy and inclusivity.
I have trouble reading small text. How does TikTok address this?
TikTok introduced an adjustable text size feature. This allows users to customize the text size for a more comfortable reading experience.
How does the text-to-speech feature enhance accessibility on TikTok?
The text-to-speech feature reads aloud on-screen text for users. It’s especially useful for users with visual impairments, making it easier for them to understand text-based content in videos.
Are there any other notable accessibility features on TikTok I should know about?
Absolutely! TikTok is continually working to improve its platform’s accessibility. They often roll out updates and new features to cater to diverse user needs. It’s always a good idea to check TikTok’s official channels or the app’s settings for the latest on accessibility features.
Where can I learn more about TikTok accessibility?
Go to the TikTok Help Center.