I had the immense privilege to connect with Anne Mok through a Jilly Academy virtual alumni event. The Jilly Academy is an online platform curated for small business owners, entrepreneurs, aspiring influencers and anyone who is wanting to learn the ins and outs of brand strategy, influencer marketing, content creation, photography, digital storytelling and so much more. During the event, Anne spoke about the work that she does and how the JIlly Academy courses supported her with this work. What she shared about accessibility and social media made me realize that I had A LOT more to learn so I reached out to Anne following the event and I am so glad that I did!
Anne is a creator, advocate and blind storyteller. Leveraging her influential presence on social media, Anne actively utilizes her platform to bring education and awareness to the blind and visually impaired community. She started her business, Purpose in View, to inspire a barrier-free world, with a clear vision and purpose to live to your full potential. Anne’s recent TEDx talk, Blind Sighted, is a testament to her unwavering belief that true inclusion is not only attainable but necessary in our world today.
Listen in as we talk about:
[2:55] The journey that led Anne to start Purpose in View
[5:50] Receiving a life-changing diagnosis
[11:55] What it means to be a digital storyteller
[15:30] Takeaways from Anne’s TEDx talk
[21:25] How accessible are social media platforms really?
[26:40] Three things we can do to make our social media posts more accessible
[35:35] Opportunities and resources to learn about during Blindness Awareness Month in October
[39:50] Anne’s favorite teachers
[42:40] What Anne is most proud of
Connect with Anne:
Instagram: @purposeinview https://www.instagram.com/purposeinview/
Facebook: @purposeinview https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100071325735929
TikTok: @purposeinview https://www.tiktok.com/@purposeinview
TEDx Talk: Anne Mok – Blind Sighted: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9IaJp5TLzA
Shared by Anne:
October is Blindness Awareness Month
- World Sight Day always falls on the second Thursday of October. This year it is on Thursday, October 12 2023.
- In the US, October 15 is White Cane Awareness Day and Blind Americans Equality Day.
Resources to get involved and learn more:
- Follow: #WorldSightDay on social media
- World Sight Day: https://www.iapb.org/world-sight-day/
- CNIB: Canadian National Institute for the Blind: https://www.cnib.ca
- Fighting Blindness Canada: https://www.fightingblindness.ca
Connect with Tiana:
- Website: https://tianafech.com
- LinkedIn: Tiana Fech
- Instagram: @tianafech
- Facebook: @tianafech
- Book: Online Course Creation 101: A step-by-step guide to creating your first online course
BEING A DIGITAL STORYTELLER
Anne shares her enthusiasm for storytelling, highlighting its ability to engage learners of all ages and make content more meaningful. She discusses her role as a digital storyteller, focusing on the use of social media, especially Instagram, to bridge the gap between the sighted and visually impaired communities.
Anne acknowledges the importance of technology, particularly smartphones, for the visually impaired community and aims to educate others about the diverse spectrum of blindness.
Through storytelling, she seeks to connect these communities and raise awareness using various digital tools such as music, audio descriptions, and alt text. Anne’s approach emphasizes the power of storytelling and technology to convey important messages and promote understanding between different perspectives and experiences.
HOW ACCESSIBLE ARE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS REALLY?
Anne discusses the accessibility of Instagram as a social media platform. She notes that while Instagram has seen rapid growth since its launch in 2010, its accessibility features have been slow to develop. Anne points out that making Instagram accessible often requires users, particularly those with visual impairments and chronic illnesses, to go through numerous steps, which can be exhausting and frustrating. She emphasizes that users typically have to put in the effort to make their own content accessible, but when it comes to accessing others’ content, Instagram falls short in terms of accessibility.
One notable issue Anne highlights is the challenge of adding alt text to multiple images, which can be time-consuming. She suggests that Instagram could do more to simplify the process. Additionally, Anne mentions that Instagram Stories, introduced in 2016, remain inaccessible to users relying on voiceover or screen readers, creating a significant barrier to accessing important information or news. This lack of accessibility can leave many users feeling excluded or uninformed. Overall, Anne’s perspective underscores the importance of improving Instagram’s accessibility features to ensure inclusivity for all users.
THREE THINGS WE CAN DO TO MAKE OUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS MORE ACCESSIBLE
“It is so important to prioritize critical thinking and to consistently embrace diversity and inclusion.”
Anne discusses three key ways to make social media posts more accessible for the visually impaired community. Firstly, she emphasizes the importance of adding alt text to photos and images, as screen readers rely on this text to describe visual content. Secondly, Anne recommends including image descriptions, which can be especially helpful for individuals with autism and neurodiversity, as well as for understanding the content of quick videos. Image descriptions can be placed in the comments section or just before hashtags. Lastly, she advises using camel case for hashtags, capitalizing the first letter of each word, as this format helps screen readers read each word separately.
Anne acknowledges that Instagram Stories remain a challenge in terms of accessibility. She suggests verbally describing content in Stories, but she also admits that the platform’s limitations can make it difficult for the visually impaired community to engage with Stories effectively. Despite these challenges, Anne’s insights offer practical and achievable strategies to improve the accessibility of social media posts and enhance inclusivity for all users.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
What is something that you would love to learn about or something that you would love to learn how to do? Interior design, aging in place, and universal design
What is a place that is at the top of your travel bucket list? Greece and Italy
What is a book, podcast, or TV show that you have enjoyed recently? Podcast: The People Teaching People Podcast (Thank you Anne!)
If you could sit down and have a conversation with someone that you would love to learn from, who would it be? Her mom