Twitter Will Add Transcriptions for Voice Tweets to Promote Accessibility – Accessibility News International

The company was criticized for rolling out the test feature without support for people with disabilities. Abrar Al-Heeti
Sept. 30, 2020

Twitter said it’s working on adding transcriptions to voice tweets in order to make the feature, which it began testing in the summer, more accessible. This comes after many criticized the social media platform for not taking all users’ needs into consideration before the release.

“We’re rolling out voice Tweets to more of you on iOS so we can keep learning about how people use audio,” the company said in a tweet on Tuesday. “Since introducing the feature in June, we’ve taken your feedback seriously and are working to have transcription available to make voice Tweets more accessible.”

We’re rolling out voice Tweets to more of you on iOS so we can keep learning about how people use audio.

When Twitter first rolled out voice tweets, many took to the platform to voice their concerns about the company not making the feature accessible to people with disabilities.

“We’re sorry about testing voice Tweets without support for people who are visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing,” the company tweeted in June. “It was a miss to introduce this experiment without this support. Accessibility should not be an afterthought.”

At the time, Twitter added it had “fixed several issues related to vision accessibility, including making voice Tweets identifiable on the timeline and making accessibility improvements to the voice Tweet experience.” The company also mentioned then that it was looking into ways to support manual and auto transcriptions.

In a release earlier this month, Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour and inclusion and diversity head Dalana Brand wrote: “Testing voice Tweets earlier this summer made us realize how much work we still need to do as a company, and we made a commitment to make Twitter more inclusive for the disabled community – creating a dedicated team to focus on greater accessibility, tooling, and advocacy across all of our products.”

Twitter isn’t the only company working on improving the accessibility of its products and offerings. More big tech brands are launching accessibility features as organizations and advocates point out the disparities that exist. The coronavirus pandemic has also highlighted the urgency of disability accommodations, as more people depend on online interactions for everyday tasks.

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