History of VT Universal
Back when VoiceThread was launched in 2005, the entire website was built in Adobe Flash. While it was great for interactivity in its time, we all know that Flash was not easily accessible to screen readers. We have always been committed to empowering all users, and in order to make the VoiceThread experience available to screen reader users, we built VT Universal. It was an all-text version of the experience that allowed users to create and comment on VoiceThreads.
Over the years, we slowly phased out Flash. In 2012 we moved the VT Home Page into HTML, and then in 2014 we moved the media player into HTML5. Some of you may even remember both of those transitions. Those were great leaps in making the default experience more accessible, but we still needed VT Universal to ensure a fully accessible experience.
This is not ideal, and we’ve never been happy with it. Accessibility should be baked in from the ground up, not added to the side of a project as an alternative. We believe strongly in this and have been unhappy at the technical limitations preventing it from being a reality for us in the past. Until now!
Our next and hopefully final step in unifying VoiceThread into a single experience is to release a fully accessible version of both parts of the VoiceThread experience: the Home Page and the media player. At this point, VT Universal will be retired because there will be no need for it. This is our single largest development push in 2023, and we hope to have a beta version ready by summer of 2023. Please contact us if you are interested in being a beta tester for this new, unified experience.