New Year, New Accessibility Features

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Seymour, the camel, wearing a New Year's hat with the words "Happy New Year" with the words, "Braille Works" and the year 2023 placed beside him

A new year calls for new features in accessibility! 

Throughout the years, industries have become more inclusive and we are grateful to be part of the advance.

I mean, can you believe that we have been making your documents compliant for nearly 30 years? We cant, either! 

As we enter 2023, we recognize and thank the many organizations that have and continue to trust us as experts in document accessibility. 

Now, let’s look at other organizations that are making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.

Industries Putting Accessibility First 

Over the past year, Braille Works wasn’t the only organization putting people with disabilities first. Many organizations and individuals championed people with disabilities. 

New advances in assistive technology and inclusiveness within the industry have brought accessibility front and center this year. 

Placed on a light wooden table are a smartphone, laptop, and Bluetooth speaker

Smart Phones

Apple made positive updates to the iPhone’s accessibility features. These updates include:

  • Detection mode: This helps users identify doors. It uses the iPhone’s camera to detect a door and audibly tells the distance between the user and the door.
  • Screen Reader: Apple updated this feature with the addition of over 20 new languages as well as the ability to read unseen texts on a webpage.
A hand holding a remote that's pointed at a TV screen showing the Netflix logo

Streaming Networks 

Netflix’s head of accessibility, Heather Dowdy, states, “I’ve been so challenged with how to take a person’s personal experience and open up access for them and more folks like them — and then for everyone.” 

This challenge led her to help create detailed captions across Netflix original shows and movies. The most notable was found in season 4 of Stranger Things’ subtitles. Descriptions like [wet footsteps squelch] or [tense music intensifies] helped create an immersive atmosphere. 

Dowdy’s accomplishments came by conducting focus groups involving people with disabilities, a first for Netflix. Her next endeavor is to make subtitles and audio descriptions accessible in Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, and French. Her goal is to have the feature be accessible in 20 languages. 

“It really is a journey and it isn’t going to be perfect – it is constant iteration.” 

Video Games 

On December 8th, 2022, The Game Awards recognized and awarded “God of War: Ragnarök” for Innovation in Accessibility. With more than 70 options to customize the game, ALL players can have an enjoyable experience. A few of their features include:

  • Subtitles and captions that accurately display sounds, like [music] or speech, and the ability to adjust the color and background. 
  • Option to change the size of texts on menu screens.
  • The ability to reduce flashing, camera movements, and motion blur.

The gaming world has seen improvement in accessibility over the past couple of years. This news only makes us more excited for the future of gaming. 

A lineup of black-framed glasses on a pink background

Smart Glasses 

We also have new businesses making a name for themselves in the world of accessibility! Companies like Seleste aim to perfect smart glasses for people with visual impairments. Its release in 2023 will offer new features that will set them apart from other smart glasses on the market. These features will include:

  • Hands-free video calling.
  • Object recognition, scene description, and text reader equipped with an autofocus camera to read small and far away text.
  • Great audio that maintains privacy without blocking surrounding sounds.

More Accessible Future in 2023

From well-known industries to up-and-coming businesses, we can expect great things in 2023 with these new accessibility features. 

Braille Works welcomes these and many other industries that understand accessibility. We are proud of our commitment to helping others reach the same goal. 

Braille Works logo with the tagline, "Making the world a more readbale place"
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