Zoom announced earlier this month that it’s added a new feature to make its video communication platform more accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing users: a specialized view for sign language interpreting.
The company has been on a bit of an accessibility kick lately, with the addition of a sign language interpreting view serving as the latest example of the company’s efforts to make the platform more approachable for users who might otherwise have difficulties communicating through Zoom.
The sign language interpreting feature is available on Zoom Meetings and Webinars. Once a host has arranged for and designated an interpreter, participants in Zoom meetings can opt in to view the sign language interpreter in a separate viewing box.
“Remote learning offers myriad benefits and conveniences, but it can also bring challenges for those with visual, hearing, and other impairments,” reads a Nov. 3 blog post from the company’s global education marketing lead, Johann Zimmern. “Now, we’re excited to announce our latest feature that continues our dedication to accessibility: the sign language interpretation view for Zoom Meetings and Webinars.”
The announcement came about a week before the company’s ZoomTopia conference earlier this week, where the company also announced new privacy features and Zoom Mail, the company’s email service.
When Zoom first became a household name at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many deaf and hard-of-hearing users struggled with accessibility issues. Although many meetings and events have since returned to an in-person format, Zoom remains more prominent than it was prior to 2020 — as such, the company has had to introduce several accessibility features to keep up with the demand for its product. In the last two years, Zoom has introduced its live transcription and automatic translation features to enable participants to more easily communicate using the platform.
“We want our users to spend more time communicating and less time worrying about obstacles that prevent them from learning,” reads the company’s blog post.