robot with headset
AI-enabled technologies are adding new ways to make a workplace more directly accessible to people with disabilities. The following tools are increasingly available as organization-wide subscriptions. They offer a wonderful opportunity to reduce the need for individual accommodation by making the workplace more directly accessible.

It’s a best practice to offer such features to all employees, who can turn the technology on and off as needed. And while they offer many benefits, as with any AI-enabled technology these technologies must also be thoroughly evaluated for equitable use to avoid harms.

audio transcriptionAutomatic captioning and transcription tools create subtitles of live conversations in real time.

How do they help people?

  • Captions make both in-person and virtual events and meetings accessible who are deaf or hard of hearing and people with information-processing disabilities, such as ADHD.
  • Research also shows that captions help all users engage with the content better.

navigation pointPhysical navigation tools help people perceive their current location and environment.

How do they help people?

  • Wayfinding tools help people who are blind or who have low vision to commute to work and to navigate around the office freely, without assistance.
  • In recent times, they have proven useful in helping to people gauge traffic and crowds to maintain social distancing.

text summaryText summarization tools enhance comprehension for people with cognitive disabilities by providing a simple version of emails or documents in plain language.

How do they help people?

  • Text summarization helps people with cognitive disabilities to identify key themes, highlights, action items, and prioritization of tasks.
  • Such tools also help anyone who may be experiencing reduced cognitive ability due to factors such as stress, lack of sleep, and multitasking, as well as people communicating in a second language.

smart glassesSmart glasses or mobile apps help employees with low vision to magnify images, read aloud text, or describe visual information about objects and people. Some tools also connect the employee with a remote assistance to help them as needed.

How do they help people?

  • People who are blind or low vision are able to understand the content in images, even when they lack high-quality alternative text. Tools can also translate other non-visual information, including handwriting.
  • Some tools attempt to identify people by matching faces to photographs, or will offer guesses about a person’s attributes, such as age and gender.

zoom meetingImmersive or virtual meeting or communication tools may utilize AI to provide fluid translation of sign language, speech and text

How do they help people?

  • These tools support inclusive meetings and communication that include people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

hands and heartWellness tools help people both with and without disabilities to manage stress and anxiety

How do they help people?

  • AI chatbots may assist in providing personalized evidence-based wellness supports, such as digital coaching and reminder tools for meditation, cognitive-behavioral techniques (CBT), and other micro-action prompts.

check markTips for Implementation

Do employees with disabilities have a way to recommend products and participate in their selection?

How have you thoroughly evaluated tools for individual privacy and data rights of all employees affected by the technology?

  • Tip: Create organizational policy that commits to protecting the individual data privacy rights of all employees.

Do employees have a way to request individual accommodations, or to use personal technology when preferred?

  • Tip: Ensure all employees understand and are encouraged to request accommodation when needed, and to recommend products that make the office more broadly accessible.
  • Tip: Consider creating a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy for employees who prefer to use technology that they own privately, such as a cell phone.
Continue to Nondiscrimination, Technology and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)