May 19, 2020

Celebrate accessibility for all on Twitch

“You’re already one of us” is so core to our values that it greets everyone entering our main lobby in big neon letters at our San Francisco headquarters. To us, this doesn’t just mean gamers and creatives; it’s for everyone, no matter their interests, background, or ability. 

In recent months, we’ve made significant steps to support all creators and users in our community through improved Twitch products. This includes:

  • Launching Ultraviolet in late 2019, which is the biggest visual redesign Twitch has ever had and included aligning with requirements around color contrast, element spacing, font size, and improved clarity and wayfinding.
  • Adopting Deque’s axe browser plugin to allow our developers to catch many accessibility errors before they’re committed to our code base.
  • Fixed many accessibility bugs across web, Android, iOS, resulting in a 57% reduction.
  • Adding accessibility documentation to our shared component library to ensure new products are accessible from the start.
  • Launching our company-wide Accessibility Statement to affirm our commitment to both accessibility and inclusive design.

It’s not just product improvements we’re committed to, but also establishing programs for both our community and employees to find the resources they need to succeed. So far, we’ve:

  • Featured “Life in Hard Mode: Streaming with Disabilities” at TwitchCon San Diego 2019 (for the fifth year) featuring Twitch streamers sharing their day to day challenges and encouraging others to get involved.

  • Created the Access Ability Guild, an employee resource group for Twitch employees with disabilities. Guild co-founder Joanne Soo, a Senior Product Manager on Community, said “As a person born with a disability, I’ve lived through many hurdles that have hampered my career growth and social life. I co-founded this guild because it touches a very deep part of my identity, and I wanted to create a platform to help other folks at Twitch find a community that can support them so that they do not have to go through the same struggles I did.”

  • Hosted monthly Empathy Sessions that connect a streamer with a disability to Twitch employees to help further our understanding of their experience on our platform. As an example, the empathy session with Brandon “superblindman” Cole led to the identification and correction of a bug that caused our video player to “drop out” after reloading.

  • Planned our first Global Accessibility Awareness Day, coming May 21, which features streamers with disabilities on our front page throughout the entire day.

  • 8:00 AM PT - Steveinspawn

  • 9:00 AM PT - StaceyOfGotham

  • 10:00 AM PT - GoodTimesWithScar

  • 11:00 AM PT - SuperBlindMan

  • 12:00 PM PT - RoryPlays

  • 1:00 PM PT - Sweet_Anita

  • 2:00 PM PT - Nikatine

  • 3:00 PM PT - onehandmostly

  • 4:00 PM PT - GlitchedVision0101

  • 5:00 PM PT - Sasiah

  • 6:00 PM PT - AbleGamers

There are ways you can help bring more accessibility on Twitch too! Stream Closed Captioner provides speech to text for any viewers who are hard of hearing or need to keep a low volume. Streamers can enable Closed Captioner as an extension, and viewers can check the site for any streamer currently using Closed Captions.

Now that we’ve established the accessibility and inclusive design program, it’s time to keep going. We’ll continue creating documentation, working to correct and prevent technical errors, hosting future empathy sessions, and spotlighting streamers with disabilities so that we can ensure that no matter your ability, you’ve got a place on Twitch.

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