How do voice assistants ensure accessibility?

How do voice assistants ensure accessibility?

People have a growing awareness of equality to ensure everyone deserves equity in life in today’s world. The governments, public companies and private enterprises are searching for methods to improve the accessibility of people with different physical disabilities. Regardless of the sectors, they all have a common goal- to optimize and offer a seamless experience for people with a wide variety of needs. One of the workable solutions is voice-enabled products and services. 

What is the need for accessibility?

The CDC reported that 61 million adults, which equals 26% of the population in the United States, live with a disability. The statistic suggests that living with physical disabilities is common nowadays. People with disabilities should not be considered as a minority and treated unfairly. Making products and services accessible for this largely untapped market is the right thing in every business. Using technology can change lives for people formerly unable to access information without assistance. Accessibility is the key to creating a fair and positive world for everyone. However, according to a study, 98% of web pages failed to meet the accessibility standard. It reveals that we still have a long path to reach the goal.

Promoting accessibility with voice in different sectors

1. Education

Everyone deserves to receive an education. Most of the education systems worldwide are written-based.  However, some children may encounter difficulties processing written information due to learning disabilities, a common disability that 1 in 5 children have. The current learning system is not suitable for nurturing students with a learning disability. Those children may not complete their education smoothly. 

Voice assistants offer another way to deliver knowledge to the children. One application that the schools use is online learning platforms. Children can access the learning materials on the sites by the text-to-speech tool.  Unlike the typical online learning platforms, the voice-enabled platform provides students with no need to click a mouse, type on a keyboard, or read the screen. Voice assistants enable every child to ​receive individual education that best suits the students’ physical abilities

2. Employment

In society, only a few of the disabilities are able to work. Only 17.9% of persons with a disability are employed in the US, as reported in 2021. Most employers do not consider employees with disabilities because of the lack of an accessible working environment for the disabilities. 

To promote accessibility in the workplace, people seek help from Voice assistants. Voice-enabled tablets allow users to perform tasks while being hands-free and text-free. A text-to-speech function in reading text-based documents can boost communication between disabilities and colleagues. Voice-enabled devices offer an easy and convenient way for people with disabilities to participate and interact in the workplace. 

3. Entertainment

The traditional stream of entertainment- TV is a challenge for people with disabilities, especially for the vision impaired. The vision-impaired cannot access the functions on TV with the controls on a remote. Navigating a small mobile screen or tiny TV remote is difficult for the vision impaired

Fortunately, with the launching of smart TVs and voice-enabling mobile apps, disabilities can access entertainment content much more effortless. People actively use the mobile search function in mobile apps and smart TVs, which indicates the capabilities of voices to provide content to people with different needs. The hands-free, seamless user experience with voices will be the standard of UX and UI design in the future

Many tech companies are working hard to improve the voice-enabled features in different devices—the tech giant, Google, has launched enhancements in their Voice Access service. The Voice Access service enables users to control their Android devices with voice commands. In the service, Google utilises AI for vision-based object detection to determine if the elements on the screen own accessibility labels. This label allows the Android accessibility service to activate and provide additional information on the element to promote accessibility. Since some on-screen lack labels, it is a challenge for Android’s accessibility services to offer the most accurate and seamless experience to the users. 

However, all of us can contribute to a world with better accessibility in different ways, regardless of our occupations. There are many tools online to promote accessibility to your product. One of them is the voice synthesis tool, like Voicemom. With Voicemom, you can easily generate audio for your product’s content from text to speech. With Voicemom, you can easily generate verbal content for text descriptions in your product. Voicemom offers various AI voices in over 50 languages. Try it free now https://www.voicemom.com/ to find the voice that suits your need!

Reference
How Voice Assistants Improve Accessibility (soundhound.com)
Google’s updated Voice Access leverages AI to detect in-app icons | VentureBeat

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