After all users had complained about the inaccessibility of voice tweets for many people with disabilities, Twitter now wants to add subtitles to the feature.
Twitter was recently criticized for not offering subtitles for people with a hearing impairment in the spoken tweets feature, which was launched last summer. The new feature released in June was initially presented as a revolutionary development of the platform. But over time, more and more users became aware of the exclusionary nature of voice tweets. Twitter has now responded to this criticism: The platform is working on making audio posts possible soon as transcription for reading, as reported by cnet.
We’re rolling out voice Tweets to more of you on iOS so we can keep learning about how people use audio.
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. (1/2)
– Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) September 29, 2020
Spoken tweets were previously unusable for many users
After the initial enthusiasm for the new feature, the enthusiasm soon subsided. Because not only deaf or hard of hearing people could not use the new function. Even users who wanted to use the app without headphones or the ability to play the tweets out loud did not benefit from the voice tweets. In addition, users with a visual impairment have not been able to identify the voice tweets in their timeline. Twitter already apologized in June for the platform’s carelessness when introducing audio posts.
We’re sorry about testing voice Tweets without support for people who are visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing. It was a miss to introduce this experiment without this support.
Accessibility should not be an afterthought. (1/3) https://t.co/9GRWaHU6fR
– Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) June 19, 2020
Along with the public apology, Twitter has already announced that several problems relating to the identification of voice tweets for visually impaired people have been resolved. Work is now also being carried out on the possibility of manual or automatic transcription of the spoken tweets. With this, Twitter wants to make the platform a more accessible place for all users.
In one Blog post from Twitter, which in early September from Dalana Brand and Kay von Beykpour it was written:
We’re proud of the progress we’ve made to make Twitter more accessible – both as a company and as a service – but we know there’s a lot more work ahead to ensure we’re truly inclusive for people with disabilities.
Twitter’s work on the platform’s accessibility is an important step in making social media a more accessible place for various user groups. Nevertheless, it is frightening that such an influential platform as Twitter has so far failed to take into account the different needs of its users. It is to be hoped that both Twitter and other platforms will learn from the mistake and that all users will also consider them when developing new features.