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Yelp updates app with AI-powered alt-text for images and new accessibility identifiers for businesses


Yelp is rolling out an app update to include more accessibility identifiers for businesses, improved screen-reader experiences, and AI-powered alt-text for images.

The company said that from 2020 to 2023, there has been an average rise of 40% in searches for “wheelchair accessible” places. With the new update, the company is adding eight more attributes across mobility, hearing, and vision to businesses to indicate how they are being accessible.

Yelp partnered with Disability:IN, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), Open to All, and The Arc to define these attributes.

Mobility

The company is following guidelines from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) to define accessible parking near the entrance. Yelp is also adding an ADA-compliant main entrance attribute that has a ramp or elevators and doesn’t have any steps or stairs at their entrance. Plus, the door should have a clear opening width of at least 32 inches when opened at 90 degrees.

An ADA-compliant restroom should have an accessible path, grab bars, and turning space of at least 60 inches in diameter. Businesses can also indicate that that they don’t have any steps or stairs at the entrance or inside the premises.

Image Credits: Yelp

Hearing

If businesses have at least one staff proficient in American Sign Language (ASL) available during opening hours, they can add an “ASL Proficient” badge. Plus, restaurants and nightlife places can also indicate if one of the TVs shows closed captions with the content on the screen.

Vision

Restaurants and nightlife businesses can show if they have braille menus available on request. They can also show if they have digital menu available through a QR code so users can access it better on the devices with tools like screen readers.

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Users can easily search for places with terms like “braille menus” or “ASL proficient” to search for establishments that meet these criteria.

Businesses can select accessible attributes
Image Credit: Yelp

What’s more, the company is also adding an Accessibility Resource Hub to help businesses become more inclusive.

Yelp is also leveraging large language models (LLMs) to generate alt-text for images on the screen. This feature is rolling out on desktop first, with cross-platform availability planned for a future release. The company is making its site and the app better suited for screen readers, as well as enhancing navigation and improved contrast.



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Miranda Cosgrove

My Miranda cosgrove is an accomplished article writer with a flair for crafting engaging and informative content. With a deep curiosity for various subjects and a dedication to thorough research, Miranda cosgrove brings a unique blend of creativity and accuracy to every piece.

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