TikTok Ups Its Accessibility With Auto-Captions

Illustration for article titled TikTok Ups Its Accessibility With Auto-Captions
Graphic: TikTok

TikTok’s giving creators a new tool to make their awful, awful memes a bit more accessible. On Tuesday, the company announced that creators could now turn on auto-captions for their clips in a push to help folks with hearing loss enjoy the app more.

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“Inclusivity is important because when people feel included, they’re more comfortable expressing themselves and engaging with their community,” the company said. “We’re committed to fostering an inclusive app environment, and that means building products and tools that support our diverse community.”

Per TikTok, creators can add these auto-captions either during the video-editing process or after their video’s been uploaded to their page. If they notice that the captioning-algo accidentally got a word or two wrong, creators can edit the text once these captions have been generated. If a viewer isn’t too fond of these captions though, then they’re free to turn them off by opening the share panel in the app.

For now, the auto-caption feature is only available in two languages: American English and Japanese, though the company says it will be working on adding other languages “in the coming months.”

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DISCUSSION

Tebow Kneeled First

The “push to video” really left a11y (accessibility) issues in dust. This is good but captions can really only go so far.

I don't think there's a great answer but we're trying to train developers to think about users with disabilities first because otherwise we are just leaving a lot of people out of the experience of the web.