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Twitter Spaces will be available for the web, including accessibility features – TechCrunch

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On Wednesday evening, Twitter announced that Spaces — its Clubhouse competitor — will start rolling out for use on the web. Earlier this month, Twitter Spaces became available for users with more than 600 followers on the iOS or Android apps. Around the same time, Clubhouse finally released its long-awaited Android app. Still, Clubhouse has yet to debut on the web, marking a success for Twitter in the race to corner the live social audio market. 

Even Instagram is positioning itself as a Clubhouse competitor, allowing users to “go live” with the ability to mute their audio and video. How will each app differentiate itself? THIS WEEK, Twitter CFO Ned Segal attempted to address this at JP Morgan’s 49th Annual Technology, Media, & Communications Conference. 

“Twitter is where you go to find out what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about,” said Segal. “So when you come to Twitter, and you look at your home Timeline, and you see a Space, it’s going to be perhaps people who you don’t know but who are talking about a topic that’s incredibly relevant to you. It could be Bitcoin; it could be the aftershock from the Grammys, it could be that they’re talking about the NFL Draft.” 

Twitter’s focus areas for the web version of Spaces include a UI that adapts to the user’s screen size and reminders for scheduled Spaces. Before joining a space, Twitter will display a preview that shows who is in a Space and a description of the topic being discussed. Users will also have a Space open on the right side of their screen while still scrolling through their Timeline.

Most crucially, this update lists accessibility and transcriptions as a focus area. For an audio-only platform, live transcriptions are necessary for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people to join in on the conversation. In screenshots Twitter shared of the new features, we can see how live captions will appear in Spaces. As for how accurate these transcriptions will be, the jury’s still out.

Twitter fielded well-deserved criticism last year when it failed to include captioning on its audio tweet feature. In an apology tweet, Twitter Support wrote, “Accessibility should not be an afterthought.” By September, Twitter launched two accessibility teams

Still, accessibility has often been treated as an afterthought throughout the rise of live audio. The Clubhouse does not yet support live captioning.

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About author
Tristan McCue is a 26-year-old junior programmer who enjoys reading, binge-watching boxed sets, and appearing in the background on TV. He is smart and friendly, but can also be very evil and a bit lazy.He is an Australian Christian. He has a post-graduate degree in computing.
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