Twitter announced a new commitment to improve accessibility options to ensure that tweets are accessible and used by all potential users.
As Twitter explained:
Testing voice tweets this summer gave us a sense of how much work we still have to do as a company, and we made a commitment to make Twitter more inclusive for the disabled community by building a dedicated team that will focus on greater accessibility, tools, and advocacy for all of our products.
Oh yeah, voice tweets, remember them? Twitter announced voice tweets back in June, but they don’t seem to be widely adopted yet.
But then again, voice tweets have become a significant addition for those unable to type with a regular keyboard, providing another way to interact with the platform and participate in a wider discussion.
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This prompted Twitter to rethink its approach in this regard. To improve its accessibility features, Twitter is bringing together two new initiatives to work in key areas: The Accessibility Center of Excellence and the Accessibility Team.
The Accessibility Center for Excellence will set goals, drive progress, consult, and collaborate with teams across our core business functions to make aspects of Twitter more accessible. This includes everything from accessibility in our office space to our marketing and communication strategies, legal and policy standards, and more.
The Experience Accessibility Team will work within our product organization on new and existing features and products, providing resources and tools that make the service more accessible. They will work in tandem with the Accessibility Center of Excellence to ensure that we are responsible for identifying and closing accessibility gaps throughout the product development lifecycle.
So in essence, both internal and external teams are working on accessibility features in the broader company.
These two initiatives will ensure that there is always a voice in the room for product and strategic approaches that should help Twitter take these elements into account and lead to the development of new product features and options consistent with wider use.
And Twitter is already developing a new feature on this front:
In addition to staffing our teams, we are already working to add automatic subtitling to audio and video by early 2021. This lays the foundation for a long-term roadmap that invests heavily in multimedia accessibility across our entire service.
I mean, Facebook added automatic subtitling in 2016, so this option has been around for a while, while LinkedIn added automatic alt-text tags last year. Twitter seems to be a little behind in this regard – but again, this is what this new team is for, introducing new solutions to improve Twitter’s systems and tools to suit all user needs.
Twitter says it will be collecting feedback from people with disabilities in the coming months as it plans to build a roadmap for key projects through this new initiative.
This is an important initiative, and while Twitter seems to be lagging a bit behind, it’s good to see the platform taking proactive steps to improve its accessibility experiences.