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Zoom introduces features to pin and spotlight multiple videos during calls

Zoom has brought in new accessibility features to help users with disabilities.

twitter-logoYasmin Ahmed | September 24, 2020 | Updated 12:43 IST
(Source: Zoom)

Highlights

  • Zoom has brought in features that will help users with disabilities.
  • The multi-spotlight and pinning feature will help users place multiple videos on the screen.
  • This will help deaf or hard of hearing users place sign-language interpreter on the screen.

A large number of students and employees are confined to their homes because of the pandemic. To assist users with disabilities, video conferencing apps have brought in accessibility features so it becomes easier for them to work with video calls.

The latest to do so is video-conferencing app Zoom which has brought in new accessibility features to help users with hearing disabilities or visual impairments. The pin and spotlight feature will let users pin up to nine videos on the screen if users need interpreters to help them with sign language on the screen. Only the user pinning videos will be able to see multiple videos on screen and can adjust the placement of videos as per his requirement.

Currently, Zoom allows only one video that can be pinned on screen. The host of the meeting can also spotlight videos that he feels are important over the others.

Multi-spotlight is similar to pinning, except the host can decide to keep up to nine videos in place for everyone to see, no matter who is speaking during the video meeting. This can help keep the sign language interpreter's video next to the speaker's, Mashable noted. As per the report, these changes are intended so that everyone can live and work in a digital platform, especially during these pandemic days.

Besides, Zoom's gallery view is also getting a slight update as users will be able to rearrange videos and fix them in a certain order. To assist users with visual impairments, Zoom has also tweaked Keyboard shortcuts and improved its screen reader interface.

Zoom does not have a live caption option but gives users the option to type captions or collaborate with third-party apps for transcriptions. The size of the captions can also be adjusted.


Apple also upgraded its accessibility features with the release of iOS14 last week. In group calls, FaceTime auto-detects if someone is using American Sign Language (ASL), and keeps that video front and centre.

Earlier this month, Instagram brought in AI-powered automatic captions for IGTV that will make it easy for users to access the app. Users will now be able to access captions on IGTV even when they turn the volume down.

Google Duo, too, has captions for audio and video messages for Android and iOS. The captions will appear at the bottom of the screen right above the call button once users open their voice messages. Skype and Google Meet also provide closed captioning and transcripts to users.

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