Tapbots, please!

Tweetbot is failing us by ignoring accessibility

I’m tired. I would have been excited if the Tapbots team who make the popular Tweetbot applications for iOS and Mac had replied with more than four meaningless words.

The tweet from Tapbots on June 30th 2016 was sent begrudgingly—that’s my assumption based on the context, which may be incorrect—in response to me calling Tapbots out repeatedly last month. It’s their only response acknowledging this issue since Twitter announced accessible image description support in March, despite dozens, if not hundreds, of tweets from folks asking for them to add support for this important feature.

I’m tired of checking and waiting to see if there are updates from Tapbots. I’m tired of seeing people continue to post images using their apps that people with visual disabilities can’t understand. I’m tired of harping on something that’s fundamentally good and right yet is ignored by those with privilege. Yes, privilege. Other Twitter clients have enabled support for this, so it’s not impossible nor unreasonable to ask for Tweetbot to have it.

Accessibility is not an option. Not even for Tweetbot.

Tweetbot is incredibly popular, and it’s a beautiful Twitter client to use—if you can use it. But, there has been what appears to be deliberate neglect of adding accessibility features (e.g. VoiceOver support, support for image descriptions) for some reason. When I’ve experienced delays in addressing this or outright pushback, there’s always a reason (insert “excuse” for “reason” if you want—both work). Everyone has a reason. Is it money? Not enough time? Need people to help test it? Lack of knowledge? All of these obstacles to accessibility can be overcome if there’s a basic willingness to make your product accessible. Does Tapbots have the willingness? I hope so. I think so.

Less talk, more action

I like the app, and I believe the Tapbots team are smart, good people. So, Paul, Mark, and Todd: Will you please provide a real update on where this issue sits in your backlog or if you’re even considering adding accessibility features to your apps? If it’s in progress, you’ll make so many people happy with a simple tweet or statement that gives people a real update and set expectations.

Call to action

Let’s tweet about this issue and ask that the Tapbots team support accessibility in their apps. I won’t use their products until they show they’re working on accessibility in earnest.

[EDIT 10:39 AM EDT JULY 24, 2016] Tapbots responded earlier this morning:


Author: Robert Jolly

Chop wood. Carry water. Product/Project Strategist with an Accessibility Focus