Clubhouse and its clones have an accessibility problem

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Nine colorful squares on a pale blue background. The middle row of squares have audio waveforms in them.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Clubhouse took off last year and spurred competitors to add their own voice chat rooms that can host hundreds if not thousands of people. But the hit app has had a serious problem from the beginning, consistently pointed out by accessibility advocates: it excludes disabled people, with the most obvious issue being that the audio-based app doesn’t have built-in captions. This makes it unusable for deaf people and difficult to use for people who are hard of hearing or struggle with audio processing.

Companies will often mention that their products are still in development or beta testing when discussing accessibility options, but the ideal development process involves working with disabled people from the earliest design stages. Tech...

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