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Finding Resources to Support Accessible SciComm Efforts

As a science communicator, I’d venture a guess that you want to reach as broad an audience as possible. That’s why you use proven strategies like reducing jargon, incorporating analogies and using simple images to explain things. 

But if you aren’t thinking about the accessibility of the products you are creating, you’re still potentially missing a sizeable  audience. According to the CDC, one in four U.S. adults has at least one form of disability including:

  • 12.8% with a cognitive disability
  • 6.1% with an auditory disability
  • 4.8% with a vision disability. 

When you do take steps to increase the accessibility of your communication, the effort goes beyond just supporting disabled audience members (known as the curb-cut effect). For example, captions on videos help people who have video muted on their device or who are in a loud environment (and industry studies and higher education research have shown that younger generations love their captions).

So how do you figure out how to make your science communication more accessible?

Here are my top resources for learning and staying on top of the latest conversation around the ever-evolving topic of accessibility.

Before you begin, a quick reminder. Disability and accessibility are not bad words. If you’re nervous or uncomfortable talking about them, check out the regularly updated Disability Language Style Guide from the National Center on Disability and Journalism.

Social Media

  • Accessible Social - A resource and education hub filled with information for making social media accessible. One unique feature linked to at the top of the homepage is the Accessibility Advisories which lists current known accessibility issues with different social media platforms  
  • Digital Engagement Accessibility Toolkit -I co-wrote this for the Association of Science and Technology Centers and it has all sorts of recommendations and resources including:
  • Accessible Communication and Events - talks about strategies for social media and other forms of communication
  • Tool Types lists tools you can use to check the accessibility of what you create.

Data Visualization


Bonus Tips


Don’t let the number of resources overwhelm you. As Meryl Evans always says, focus on Progress over Perfection. Pick one or two simple strategies to start, such as using camel case in your hashtags or adding accessible captions for your next video. Starting small is better than doing nothing at all.

Check out the other blog posts on The Link about accessibility:


Chiarella, D., Yarbrough, J. & Jackson, C.AL. Using alt text to make science Twitter more accessible for people with visual impairments. Nat Commun11, 5803 (2020).

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Sara Kobilka

Sara Kobilka is the owner and principal consultant for Renaissance Woman Consulting LLC and a dedicated lifelong learner. She is passionate about education, communication, outreach, networking and issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, access, accessibility, belonging and social justice. Sara is involved nationally in diversity in STEM (including serving as a national trainer for SciGirls, Hero Elementary, Click2Science and ACRES) and STEM engagement initiatives. Over the course of her career, she’s been a broadcast meteorologist/journalist, formal and informal educator, non-profit leader, career consultant and entrepreneur. Her goal is to encourage collaborative, trans-disciplinary thinking, and develop a STEM identity in all individuals. She enjoys a Renaissance woman life-style, both inside and outside of her work life and is actively raising two Renaissance girls.

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