The Covid-19 lockdowns have seen a huge spike in the use of video conferencing apps for work meetings and social hanging out. The signs suggest that this is going to continue even after lockdowns ease. This is a guide to the features of the most commonly used Apps.
How accessible or usable any particular app is will depend on the person using it, their disability and of course the requirements of their work and employer when using them for work meetings.
Most video apps offer similar features such as a screen-sharing option to let other callers see what’s on your computer, a mute button and instant messaging. But they differ in the access services they provide, like live closed captions. It is worth noting that although AI has improved tremendously in recent years AI generated closed captions are still not as good as captions provide a human being. Some platforms allow users to add captions created by a human transcriber
Of course, it is worth saying that accessibility is not just about the application itself, but also about the content and information that users populate it with. For example, you may be presenting a document which is not accessible, does not have the right colour contrast, and the font is too small. Please see our guide on this in our Inclusive Communications Toolkit for further guidance on this.
Below is an alphabetical list of the most commonly used apps outlining their basic features and accessibility functions. We are enormously grateful to our colleagues at Scope for their research on video conferencing apps which we are reproducing here with additions of our own.
Apps are being updated with new features added all the time. If you are a developer or user or if you know of an update or change that needs to be added to the list, please do let us know. We have also tried to include a link to the suppliers’ websites, so please also check these for any updated information on the accessibility features. Similarly, if there is an app that’s missing that should be in the list again let us know and we will add it.