Facebook Outlines Latest Improvements in Accessibility, Including Better Font Re-Sizing and Contextual Headings

Facebook has provided an overview of its latest improvements in accessibility features, which it was able to add into the most recent refresh of its desktop platform due to a change in the back-end structure of the site.

As per Facebook:

By taking advantage of the latest advancements in React, we have been able to introduce new accessibility tools, techniques, and technology. The result is a carefully crafted experience for people who benefit from increased legibility, Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) markup, and keyboard navigation.”

That makes Facebook a much more user-friendly platform for all – here’s a look at some of the new updates, and how they’ll make Facebook more accessible for users of varying requirements.

First off, Facebook has improved its text rendering to ensure that font sizes remain stable, and reflect user preferences across the platform.

In the past, font sizing has been inconsisent, due to variances in the different presentation panels, but in this new structure, Facebook’s now able to better facilitate such preferences across each surface.

Facebook has also restructured its headline architecture in order to ensure screen readers are able to make sense of its displayed listings.

As per Facebook:

For people using a screen reader, headings are one of the most common ways to navigate a page. They allow people to understand the structure of the page and jump between sections. However, for this to work, the heading levels need to be specified with a logical ordering. This becomes difficult to maintain with a layout like ours, which changes frequently as we develop and add new features.”

The new system will make Facebook’s headings more consistent – which is important, considering that some around 4.4 million people in the US alone use screen readers to assist in their web usage. 

Facebook has also added new developer requirements around text labels for buttons, improved visual layouts for variable elements and updated its keyboard shortcut listings on-screen to assist those navigating the platform via key commands.

Facebook keyboard shortcuts

As noted, with so many people looking to access the platform with variable usage requirements, it’s important for Facebook to improve these options where possible – while it’s also important for all creators and brands uploading content to consider the same as they publish online. 

Do you include alt-text descriptions in your posts? Have you considered how your use of emojis will be reflected when a screen reader has to describe each one, one-by-one, to a user?

These are important considerations for a more inclusive society, and while it does take some extra time and consideration in your process, the benefits for users can be significant.

You can read more about Facebook’s latest accessibility updates here.

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