May 19, 2022

Celebrating One in a Billion Talent for GAAD

Update 5/19: This post was revised to address a mistake regarding an accessibility tip.

Say it with us: accessibility for all! Today, for Global Accessibility Awareness Day, let’s celebrate this mission as one Twitch community. 

All day long, creators will be leading this charge on our homepage by showing off their skills, talking about the importance of digital accessibility, answering your questions, and also just having a great time. Plus, we’ll tell you a bit more about what we’re doing to boost accessibility on Twitch, and what you — yes, you — can do to help. 

GAAD is a wonderful thing. But its goal of accessibility for all can’t just be relegated to one group of people. In fact, about 15% of all people in the world are living with a disability. That’s over 1 billion people. Which, last time we checked, is a lot. Accessibility is not a problem for the few, but for the (very) many. And the more steps we can all take toward that goal, the better. 

Thankfully, of that 1+ billion folks, some of the kindest, most talented, and most entertaining people have built their communities right here on Twitch. Their knowledge and expertise, and their contributions to gaming, art, and more, are streaming live not just today but every day. If you’re looking for them, look no further. Here’s the full lineup of the amazing creators going live on the Twitch homepage for GAAD:

For Australia and New Zealand regions, keep an eye on the ANZ Front Page for these local creators up until May 22nd:  /Akari, /Beri, /BlazePlayyz, /Caddlebear, /ChaiLatteNebula, /magnetbrain, /Morrow_Plays, /NoHandsNZ, /Nyaadia, /Octarock, and /pwuppygf.

What else we’re doing 

While everyone is doing their part in promoting accessibility awareness, we have some updates to share, too. Here are some initiatives, both internal to Twitch and external for the whole community, that we’ve recently completed, begun, or have in the works. 

  • In early 2022, we began working with accessibility consultants, with and without lived experience of disability, to review our applications from an accessibility angle. We’ve reviewed the Creator Stream Manager dashboard on web, mobile apps, and our core UI library — with more audits coming this year. Our internal teams are using these reports to improve Twitch’s accessibility across the board. 
  • We’re planning to conduct employee training in web accessibility for tech groups across Twitch, including product managers, designers, UX researchers, and software engineers, with a target date of June 2022.
  • We’re in the process of establishing partnerships with external accessibility consulting organizations for conducting qualitative user research of Twitch experiences including people with disabilities.
  • To promote user centered design, we created an annotation library that designers use to communicate accessibility design decisions with developers easily.  We started including annotations to communicate heading structure, image alternative text and page titles as part of our design review process, and will be expanding the library to include more annotation options.
  • Several accessibility improvements are currently in the works, including: 
    • Making it easier for creators to recognize when their viewers have a limited channel experience so they can make adjustments to their stream. This includes a chat badge that lets viewers self identify as audio- or video-only.
    • Reducing the amount of time and effort it takes to navigate the Twitch site using a keyboard. This includes getting to specific sections of the page quickly, cutting down on the number of tab presses or redundant links it takes to get from place to place. 
    • Making it easier for those using screen readers to participate in chat, both by providing user preference to alter functionality when the chat window is in focus, and by using skip links that can be used to avoid reading every chat message if the user is ready to send a message. 

How you can help 

In addition to watching and supporting the creators above, there are plenty of things you can do to promote accessibility on Twitch and beyond. 

If you’re a creator, take 20 minutes and help make your stream more accessible for everyone by making a few simple changes: 

  • Use closed captions. Consider adding closed captions to your streams using Guide to Closed Captions.
  • Activate subtitles in games. Many modern games also offer options to increase subtitle size, adjust the text color and font, and more. 

We have a whole Creator Camp article about making your channel more accessible, with input from /BlindGamerSteve, /Nikatine, and /NoHandsNZ, so check it out! In no time at all, you can make your channel more welcoming than ever. 

If you’re not a creator (but this also applies if you are), you could also take some time to educate yourself (and your community!) about ableist language, how it affects people living with disabilities, and some alternatives to use that keep accessibility in mind: 

Whether you’re a viewer or a streamer, a person with a disability or not, a chatter or a lurker —  however you help boost awareness is important, so thank you for your support. And for any accessibility related questions and feedback, email!

We’ll see you in chat.

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