This week, VoiceThread has made available to Penn State a beta version of it’s product that is screen reader friendly, providing a more engaging VoiceThread experience for vision impaired users than ever before. VoiceThread is calling this application “VoiceThread Universal”. This accessible version of VoiceThread was designed to not only work well with screen readers but, much more importantly, work well for the people who use screen readers.
Designed Specifically for Accessibility
Many screen-reader-enabled websites and tools are quite unpleasant to use because such compatibility was enabled as an “add on” to an experience originally designed for visual navigation and use. This can provide a less than stellar experience as volumes of information, necessary only for visual use, must still be heard and navigated in order to 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 that are stripped of all superfluous elements. Concise, clear, and efficient is the goal for the experience.
Beta Testing at PSU
VoiceThread chose Penn State as one of it’s first release sites for VoiceThread Universal. The VoiceThread at Penn State team is working with accessibility resources to conduct this testing but it is open to all Penn State faculty, students and staff who would like to use it. Throughout the next few months, Penn State will offer feedback to VoiceThread on the usability of this product. VoiceThread is excited to have Penn State onboard to help them make this a truly effective offering.