3 Features That Make LinkedIn More AccessibleJan 02, 2024
I’m constantly preaching the importance of authenticity on LinkedIn. Whether your career is nonlinear or your experience is nontraditional, there’s room to embrace your whole story on LinkedIn. Diversity makes the workplace—and your network—stronger.
The leaders and developers behind LinkedIn agree. That’s why the company has made the platform accessible to a wide spectrum of abilities. By prioritizing accessibility, LinkedIn benefits both users with disabilities and those without. An inclusive community allows more people to join and enrich the conversation happening on LinkedIn.
Let’s take a look at three accessibility features on LinkedIn. Then, we’ll step back and consider why accessibility matters in general.
1. Screen Reader Support
Screen readers enable folks who are blind or have limited vision to access digital products like LinkedIn. Whereas most users navigate a web interface using their eyes, a screen reader allows users to rely on their other senses, typically hearing. Most screen readers allow users to adjust the speed, volume, and even the language of the content.
LinkedIn is designed to accommodate a range of different screen reader technologies. Everything from a user’s profile intro to “Open to” options and photos can be changed with a screen reader. Conveniently, these features are available on the desktop version of LinkedIn as well as the iOS and Android LinkedIn apps.
2. Immersive Reader
LinkedIn provides users of all abilities a service by making first-party articles accessible via Microsoft’s Immersive Reader. The dynamic reader tool means your content can be enjoyed by the largest number of people possible in the LinkedIn community.
When they open the Immersive Reader, users can opt to have an article read out loud with a selection of voice styles and speeds. The Immersive Reader also includes a toolkit of display options that make it easier to digest the visual content of an article. These include text preferences, like spacing and font size, as well as a picture dictionary that converts common words into photos. You can even translate the article to a different language in real time—how cool is that?
3. Disability Answer Desk
As a Microsoft company, LinkedIn holds itself to high accessibility standards. The disability answer desk offers dedicated help with the platform’s assistive technology. Whether they come across a bug in a feature or just need a little help completing a task, users can find the support they need to make the most of the platform. For an additional layer of support, LinkedIn partners with Be My Eyes, a free app that helps people with visual impairments navigate the web.
Why Accessibility Matters
Accessible web products allow users of varying abilities to use the features and information others can. Creating accessible products benefits all users though, since it often means faster load times and a better user experience.
Designing for accessibility is not only the right thing to do, it’s also the law in some cases. Certain regulations require web products to comply with accessibility guidelines. The American Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that any website representing a business open to the public must make accommodations for people with disabilities. The best practice in the tech world is to adopt accessible guidelines, even when it’s not legally required to do so.
As a user of a digital product, you should care about accessibility—whether you require accessible features or not. An accessible web also means a broader audience. While people with disabilities might be in the minority, they make up a large part of potential web users. According to the WHO, one in six people worldwide has a significant disability. That’s about 1.3 billion people!
You can rest assured that publishing your content on LinkedIn means people who represent a wide range of abilities, languages, and perspectives can consume and engage with your content.
LinkedIn’s accessibility is just one of the many reasons I’ve coached thousands of professionals on how to leverage it. Reading about LinkedIn is one thing, but learning, engaging, and putting knowledge into practice is another. That’s the power of speaking and training engagements! If you’re ready to win, on LinkedIn and off, hire me to equip your team.