Yelp improves accessibility features to empower users with disabilities

Yelp rolled out new accessibility features including searchable business attributes, AI-powered image descriptions, and a resource hub to empower users with disabilities and improve their experience on the platform.

Accessibility business attributes on Yelp
Accessibility business attributes on Yelp

Yelp this week introduced new accessibility features to empower users with disabilities and improve their experience on the platform:

Searchable Accessibility Attributes: Yelp partnered with disability advocacy groups to introduce new searchable business attributes. These attributes allow users to find businesses that cater to specific mobility, hearing, and vision needs. Examples include "ASL proficient" for businesses with staff who can communicate in sign language and "QR code menus available" for establishments offering digital menus accessible to screen readers.

AI-powered Image Descriptions: Yelp is leveraging large language models (LLMs) to automatically generate alternative text descriptions for photos. This functionality is particularly helpful for users with visual impairments who rely on screen readers to navigate the platform.

Accessibility Resource Hub for Businesses: A new resource hub provides businesses with information and tools to implement inclusive practices and improve accessibility for customers with disabilities. The hub includes details on the new searchable attributes and how to add them to business profiles.

Enhanced Platform Accessibility: Yelp is making ongoing improvements to enhance the platform's accessibility for users with visual impairments. This includes improved color contrast, better screen reader functionality, and overall navigation improvements.

These updates can significantly benefit both users with disabilities and businesses on the Yelp platform.

Empowering Users: The new searchable attributes and improved accessibility features empower users with disabilities to find businesses that meet their specific needs and have a more inclusive user experience on Yelp.

Supporting Businesses: The accessibility resource hub empowers businesses to implement inclusive practices, reach a wider customer base, and demonstrate their commitment to accessibility.

With an estimated one in four adults in the United States living with a disability, catering to accessibility needs is not only a social responsibility but also a strategic business decision. Yelp's update reflects a growing focus on online accessibility and inclusivity.

Yelp's commitment to accessibility is commendable. The platform's ongoing efforts to improve user experience and empower businesses with resources demonstrate a positive step towards a more inclusive online environment.

Yelp is a popular online platform that functions like a local business directory and social network. Users can find reviews of businesses, including restaurants, bars, cafes, hairdressers, spas, and gas stations. Yelp users can also search for businesses by location and browse photos. Businesses can claim their Yelp profile and update contact information, hours, and other basic listing information or add special deals. Importantly, Yelp allows users to write reviews and react to reviews, similar to other social networking platforms.

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