VoiceThread Universal and Section 508 Accessibility

VoiceThread Universal is an accessibility project that our team has been working on and we’re very excited to release the public beta. VoiceThread has been an accessibility aid for many users and many communities of users, but it has always had a major weakness; it did not work with screen-readers, so vision-impaired users had a hard time participating in these conversations. We’re now introducing a version of the VoiceThread application that is specifically designed to not only work well with screen-readers but, much more importantly, work well for the people who use screen-readers.

Many websites and online tools use an “add on” to gain compatibility with screen-readers, simply allowing the page and its elements to be read aloud. This means that screen-reader users must listen to volumes of useless information before they can navigate and participate in the space. VoiceThread Universal is a version of the the VoiceThread application designed specifically to be beautiful to the ear with navigation, instructions, and tasks are stripped of superfluous elements, whether visual or textual. Concise, clear, and efficient is the goal for the experience. Read more about our thoughts on Accessibility.

In the coming months we’ll be gathering feedback as we build improvements. Please help us out by adding your criticisms and suggestions on this Forum post, or by emailing them to accessibility at voicethread.com.