Twitter Extends Test of Voice Tweets to More iOS Users

The social network said it continues to work on transcription to make them more accessible

Twitter began testing voice tweets with a limited number of iOS users in June Twitter

Twitter is extending its test of voice tweets to more of its iOS users, as well as continuing its work to make transcription of those voice tweets more accessible to everyone.

The social network began testing voice tweets with a limited group of iOS users in June, accessible for consumption by all users, whether they had access to the feature or not, and limited to 140 seconds.

However, shortly after the test began, Twitter received a host of feedback from users pointing out that the feature was rolled out without a means to support those who are visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing.

Product lead Kayvon Beykpour said in a tweet at the time, “Really appreciate the feedback we heard from customers on missing accessibility support for our iOS voice experiment yesterday. Sorry we let you down. We’ve already fixed a few issues today (will be in the next release), and exploring more improvements (like transcription) now.”

And product designer Maya Patterson shared a lengthy, passionate, apologetic response via voice tweet and written out.

Earlier this month, the social network formed two teams to address those issues.

The Accessibility Center for Excellence will set goals, drive progress, consult and partner with groups across the social network’s core business functions, including accessibility in the company’s office spaces, marketing and communications strategies and legal and policy standards.

And the Experience Accessibility Team will work within Twitter’s product team on new and existing features and products, functioning in tandem with the Accessibility Center for Excellence in order to ensure that the company is held accountable in identifying and filling accessibility gaps throughout its product development lifecycle.

Vice president of people experience and head of inclusion and diversity Dalana Brand and Beykpour discussed captions at the time, saying in a blog post, “Beyond staffing our teams, we’re already working to add automated captions to audio and video by early 2021. This lays the foundation for a longer-term roadmap that invests broadly in media accessibility throughout our service.”

Twitter Support said via tweet this week, “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. Transcription for audio and video is part of our larger plan to make Twitter accessible for everyone across all features, both existing and new.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.