Facebook Horizon Lacks Accessibility for Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing

I came across this open letter to the Facebook Horizon team, and offered to give it a signal boost here to hopefully give this request more traction. The original post was composed by Myles de Bastion and can be found here.

Dear Horizon Team,

We URGENTLY require Communications Accessibility.

This is an open letter to please add live automated speech recognition (ASR) to display captioning in Horizon. The technology exists but I am seeing comments that it is just not considered a high priority for the full release of this app. Can we petition to change this?

I am Deaf and I’ve had fun seeing and testing the community created tools & worlds made to help those who don’t hear or speak, have some limited means to communicate. Yet this work further amplifies that there is need for a formal solution to be implemented directly by the Horizon team. Otherwise we are facing a growing disparity gap in the fact that those with disabilities are falling behind in representation and having the skills to build their own cultural experiences in Horizon.

Live captioning doesn’t only benefit those who do not hear but it opens the doors for multilingual translation of captions so that people can read captions and even reply in their native language. This would truly benefit the whole community and help achieve the goal of inclusion and diversity. Facebook Horizon WILL fall short without live captioning and translation features being implemented NOW during the beta instead of waiting months and years after launch to add it which will only continue to perpetuate oppression and exclusion behaviors.

Please elevate this message by commenting, liking and sharing. Thank you for your time.

Signed,
Myles de Bastion (DeafMyles)

SpoonieVR wholeheartedly stands behind this request in full support. I will also be suggesting the implementation of ASR in other VR games whose dev team I am in communication with. This can and absolutely should be done.
Unfortunately, the Horizon team has said publicly that they have no plans to implement this function, despite having seen this letter. It is my hope that more people will see this request and make their support for it known so that the Horizon team will change their minds and see this as the priority that it is, rather than an unnecessary luxury.

Myles de Bastion is an Artistic Director, Musician and Creative-altruist who develops technology and art installations that enables sound to be experienced as light and vibration.

He is a UX designer and part of the XR Access Immersive captioning working group. You can learn about his work on the topic of captioning and sign language here.

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