Digital inclusion and accessibility is a subject major names in the industry are beginning to make important and build messages behind. Microsoft recently launched the first-ever national digital billboard campaign to feature British Sign Language (BSL); highlighting the importance of accessibility in digital innovation.
The campaign features a BSL interpreter signing a message which displays: “The more inclusive you are, the more innovative you can be. Together we can create a better and more accessible world for everyone.” The campaign is set to be featured across major railways in the UK. These include: Reading, Brighton, Waterloo, Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Liverpool Lime Street, Leeds and Edinburgh Waverley.
Microsoft is only one of the communication and technology brands who are highlighting the importance of digital accessibility. They have been joined by mobile network, Giffgaff, who launched their first campaign in British Sign Language. There are currently 151,000 BSL users in the UK.
Victoria Oakes, Storytelling and Digital Destinations Lead at Microsoft UK, said: “Innovation comes from diversity of thought and greater diversity can be fostered through building a culture of inclusion and accessibility. Microsoft places great focus on this and this campaign showcases the role technology plays in improving access for underserved populations; sharing our commitment to ensure every person has access to the technology, skills, and opportunity to pursue jobs in a changing economy.”
We have seen search giant, Google, introduce an AI Google Translator in 2018. This AI app converts sign language into text and speech. Smartphone users can place their phone in front of the user, whilst the app translates the gestures being made by the user – converting to speech or text.
This is a major example of the innovation organisations are driving to show the important part technology can play, as well as improving access to digital content in underserved communities.