Twitter on Wednesday announced that it is forming two new accessibility teams. The new Accessibility Center of Excellence (ACE) and the Experience Accessibility Team (EAT) will focus on improving accessibility on the features and products on its platform.
The move comes on the back of strong criticism for the company's approach towards accessibility. "Serving the public conversation means continuously taking steps to make Twitter more accessible," the company said in a blog post.
Twitter faced criticism for the lack of accessibility tools on the voice tweets feature it announced back in June. The feature allowed users to record and tweet audio clips. But in just about two months of time, the feature already seems to be non-existent. Everyone's already forgotten about it.
Voice tweets did make it easier for people who have difficulty typing on regular keyboards to speak their minds out on the platform. However, there were larger accessibility issues that the company overlooked. Lack of captioning means voice tweets was of no use for peoples who are hard of hearing.
What was more baffling is that Twitter did not even have a team dedicated to accessibility when it launched the feature. The company received a fair share of criticism for its approach in this respect. And it appears it has heard them all.
"Testing voice Tweets earlier this summer made us realize how much work we still need to do as a company," Dalana Brand and Kayvon Beykpour of Twitter write in the blog post announcing the formation of new accessibility teams. "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 forms new accessibility teams
Twitter's new ACE team will work on to make aspects of Twitter more accessible. This will include everything from office spaces to marketing and communications strategies, legal and policy standards, and more.
EAT, on the other hand, will look into making Twitter's features and products more accessible. The team will be responsible for providing resources and tools that promote greater accessibility for both new and existing features.
Twitter says this is the "foundation for a longer-term roadmap" to improve accessibility on its products. The company is already working to add automated captions to both audio and video content by early next year. It'll also be gathering feedback from people with disabilities in the coming months in order to further push its efforts.