Am I missing something?

Experiences of using social media by blind and partially sighted users
  • Gill WhitneyEmail author
  • Irena Kolar
Short Paper


People with a visual impairment are more likely to experience social isolation as an effect of their vision loss. Social media can particularly benefit these users, but it is of concern if it cannot be fully and successfully used. This study was instigated at the request of an advisory group of visual impaired users and experts. The aim of the study was to investigate potential accessibility issues visually impaired users could encounter when using social media. A major concern was over missing content embedded in images on social media sites. A subsequent evaluation of Facebook posts carried out by a group of student participants demonstrated that nearly half of images considered contained embedded text, which would be inaccessible to visually impaired users. Despite efforts by social media companies to improve accessibility, any text present in images is not presented in an accessible way to visually impaired users. This research demonstrated the inequality that can arise from partial accessibility and the requirement to consider accessibility at all stages of design and development.


Accessibility Social media Blind and partially sighted 



Sarah Bailey, Davinder Kullar, Rory Heap and Andy Heath are thanked both for inspiring the paper and providing information of their personal experiences of social media.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Science and TechnologyMiddlesex UniversityLondonUK

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