As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, we cheer ourselves by thinking of future socializing in-person. We also think about returning to work or activities we love. These hopes help us through the challenges of physical distancing. Moreover, these challenges show us that we can be more flexible or more creative than we thought we could. For instance, organizations, from media outlets to stores, have adapted to new ways of providing information during the pandemic. Many of these adaptations are also practices that make information more accessible for viewers with disabilities. More information is being offered online, in accessible formats, or with communication supports. In the post-COVID-19 future, more people may recognize the value of adapting information to meet citizens’ diverse needs. Consequently, more service providers may improve their communication supports after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Communication Supports After the COVID-19 Pandemic
As the pandemic progresses, media and government are providing communication supports to reach a wider audience. For example, the Premier’s speeches now include American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation. In the same way, businesses, the media, and other organizations can just as easily implement other supports to communicate with more people. For instance, Real-Time Captioning (RTC) would allow more people to access media releases. Likewise, more people can access TV shows and movies when they include described video and closed captions.
In addition, businesses are adapting to customers’ needs to use other communication supports or communication devices. For instance, people using ASL or speechreading need to see others’ faces clearly. However, the masks that people now wear in public make reading facial expressions difficult or impossible. As a result, it is difficult for people to communicate with medical or other staff who must wear masks. However, one student is designing partially transparent masks to remove this barrier.
In short, media, businesses, and other organizations have started adapting the ways they communicate in order to reach a wider audience. Moreover, these organizations may recognize the benefits of these supports and offer them on an ongoing basis. Furthermore, other organizations are becoming accustomed to providing information in different ways. These organizations may want to start making their information accessible, to welcome new viewers and customers.