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Sub-Standard Access - The All-Inclusive Newsletter #17

Sub-Standard Access - The All-Inclusive Newsletter #17
By Liam O'Dell • Issue #17 • View online
Good evening,
It’s been a while. A whole month has passed (sorry), but in that time, a few new faces have signed up to this little corner of the internet. Welcome.
You probably saw this when you signed up, but this is the place to be for the latest on all things accessibility, social media and technology.
In this issue:
  • What’s going on with UK television and its shoddy subtitles?
  • YouTube’s axing of community captions - one year on
  • Brand new Spaces features
  • And much more!
Just keep scrolling…

🗞️ Read A11y 'bout it!
Little Mix concert promoter discriminated against Deaf parents, judge rules
TikTok finally rolls out auto captions in the UK
Without meaningful allyship, hearing people are doomed to poor Deaf awareness
Xbox unveils a load of new accessibility features
Twitter is considering being like Facebook and using full-width pics
Wembley Stadium guarantees sign language interpretation for every show
GoFundMes may soon be available in Twitter's Tip Jar
🟣 Spaced out
you’ve been asking…here’s a sneak peek of Recorded Spaces (concept only!)
The Twitter Spaces team have been cranking out updates left, right and centre over the past few weeks, and now, they appear to be rolling out some long-awaited features - including an early concept design for recorded Spaces.
The good news? A Twitter engineer has confirmed that transcripts will be available with recorded Spaces, just like they are for live Spaces.
Let’s not forget that it won’t just be Deaf and hard of hearing people who benefit from this, but Spaces hosts looking to share recordings on third-party platforms. It’s another reminder that accessibility benefits everyone.
And in other news: Host Reconnect plans to solve the problem of Spaces which are brought to a rather abrupt halt due to Internet connectivity issues, or phones unexpectedly dying on us. Host Reconnect sets to eliminate the administrative burden and cognitive load that can come with setting up a Space - especially for the second time.
Channel 4 and Channel 5 experience subtitling and audio description issues
🚫 Contrasting messages
Nationwide Building Society
Register your school to watch The Big #AntiBullyingAssembly on the 4 October.
You won’t want to miss this.
If you’re going to do a marketing campaign tackling bullying and thus promote the opposite of inclusion, then you should probably make sure that your social media content is accessible to everyone. Sadly for Nationwide, they did just that with the above video, showing white and yellow captions almost camouflaged against a pale background, making them completely impossible to read.
When I pointed this out to their team, I was told they would pass it on to the marketing department - only for them to release another inaccessible version of the ad days later.
Inaccessibility and ignoring access requests can send out the wrong message during your advertising campaign. Don’t let it sidetrack your key objectives; make your content accessible.
Heck, it wasn’t the only social media accessibility blunder in recent weeks either. The hate-filled, disaster-prone GB News decided to mark International Week of Deaf People by inviting a Deaf person on to talk about panto, only for them to share the video online with no subtitles or an interpreter. Smashing(!)
Then the UK Government decided to join in the inaccessible fun too, posting a video from a Downing Street press conference where the sign language interpreter is cut off completely. Not the best move considering they were recently found to have breached the Equality Act by not providing appropriate Deaf access for those briefings, but hey ho…
YouTube’s Community Captions replacement still isn’t ready – a year after they were axed
🤦🏻‍♂️ Simulation is appropriation
Liam O'Dell
When it comes to understanding disability, simulation is appropriation. Wheelchairs aren’t toys, and playing ‘The Whisper Challenge’ with headphones doesn’t replicate deafness or lipreading.

Turning our lived experiences into games doesn’t create empathy; it creates pity. Stop.
Earlier this week, I read a story from Northern Ireland about a group of non-disabled people wheeling around in wheelchairs for 24 hours to raise money for charity. Hopefully, I don’t need to take up too much of my precious word count to explain why that is an absolutely terrible idea.
As listed in the above tweet, things such as The Whisper Challenge and other social media/marketing campaigns don’t serve any other purpose other than to generate pity, in some weird display of pity porn. Our disabilities, our lived experiences, are reduced to nothing more than fun little ‘games’ and ‘challenges’ to overcome, to truly ‘understand’ what life is like as a disabled person today.
But we don’t need non-disabled people to carry out a simulation in order for them to understand the barriers we disabled people face every single day. Instead, it’s as easy as simply listening to us. The existence of a disability-themed game or challenge is proof that we’re still yet to reach the point where disabled people’s experiences are accepted and understood at face value.
It has to change. Now.
👋🏻 See you on 15 October!
It’s not quite fortnightly, but it’ll get us back on track. I’ll be back in your inboxes next Friday with the latest accessibility news.
In the meantime, you can continue the conversation with me over on my Twitter, @LiamODellUK.
Have a good week!
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Liam O'Dell

I'm writing my first book, and I want you to follow my journey, but also motivate me to put words on a page.

Formerly 'The All-Inclusive Newsletter', this newsletter will share updates as I begin to compile my debut, but will also be a way for me to reach out with ways you can be involved, and support the work I'm doing.

Sign up to The Book Accountability Project for updates on my writing progress when I have them.
Hi, I'm Liam. I'm a Deaf and disabled journalist and campaigner who is now writing my first non-fiction book, and needs people to hold me accountable.

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