Twitter is working on adding automated subtitles to audio and video titles to make the platform more accessible.
In an announcement, the company said it had recently been made aware that it was insufficient in terms of involving the disabled community.
Back in July, Twitter began testing tweets that only contained audio. Without subtitles or other forms of testing, voice tweets were not accessible to all Twitter users.
“Testing voice tweets earlier this summer made us realize how much work we still have to do as a company, and we are committed to making Twitter more inclusive for the disabled community and creating a dedicated team focused on greater accessibility , Tools and features focused advocacy for all of our products. "
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Twitter is committed to making itself more accessible, starting with launching several initiatives.
Automated subtitles will be added to audio and video by early 2021. Work on the feature has already started, according to Twitter, but there is still a lot to be done.
This should help make audio and video more accessible to everyone.
Automated subtitles are by no means perfect, see YouTube as an example of this, but they are certainly a step further than having no subtitles at all.
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Maybe Twitter's automatic subtitling will be improved somehow. The company says it works with people with disabilities to get feedback on new prototypes.
The feedback can help Twitter's automatic captioning be better than that of the average voice-to-text translator. Although it will be some time before we see the end result.
Twitter may be wise to go the YouTube route to allow both manual and automated subtitles.
YouTube users have the option of adding their own subtitles to videos that they upload.
If subtitles are not provided, YouTube will use automated subtitles by default.
At one time, YouTube was experimenting with a feature called "Community Posts" that would allow anyone to contribute subtitles to a video.
However, due to underuse and reports of spam and abuse, YouTube community subtitles will be closed later this month.
Learn more about the other initiatives to make Twitter more accessible here.
New teams for accessibility
Twitter is introducing two new teams to its company that will focus on making the website more accessible.
The Accessibility Center for Excellence
This new team will help make aspects of Twitter more accessible by setting goals, making progress, and advising groups across core business functions.
This is a comprehensive initiative that will improve accessibility from Twitter's office space to marketing and communication strategies, legal and political standards and more.
The Experience Accessibility Team
This team will work with Twitter's product team on new and existing features.
The role of the Experience Accessibility team is to provide resources and tools that will help make the service more accessible.
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You will work with the Accessibility Center for Excellence to ensure that Twitter is accountable for identifying and addressing accessibility gaps in its products.
Longer term plans
According to Twitter, these initiatives are only the foundation of a longer-term plan to invest heavily in media accessibility.
"We have teamed up with external groups and will be gathering feedback from people with disabilities through interviews, surveys and remote usability studies of new prototypes over the coming months."