Accessibility and inclusion: Text readers and #HashTags

Web accessibility has always been a requirement for UMaine websites, and has been a regular feature in our monthly newsletter— and ensuring your content is accessible is part of an inclusive communication strategy. This month, we focus on how screen readers work with social media communication tactics such as “hash tags.”

What is a hashtag?

The term “hashtag” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2014:

A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify digital content on a specific topic.

The majority of the top 50 websites by traffic on the internet use hashtags and their use is common nowadays.

Accessibility with hashtags

When a screenreader reads hashtags to someone, it will understand a new word based on a capitalized letter within the hashtag, and will read some nonsense sounds if it is not capitalized. This is especially important if the hashtag has multiple words combined together as a phrase:

Correct: #GoBlue

Not accessible: #goblue

If you have any questions about web accessibility, or want to see us cover an accessibility topic in a future newsletter, please get in touch with us at