For the next weeks, and probably months, the world is shifting to communicate, work and study almost exclusively online. This shift makes work and school much more challenging for millions of people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Turns out that pixelated video calls make reading lips much more difficult! Who knew?

And even if you’re blessed with a blazingly fast internet connection, you don’t always know which window to look at among all these tiny images of people attending the call — that is if they even have their camera on!

Can you read their lips?

Our team at Ava has been working remotely the last 4 years between San Francisco & Paris, so naturally, we’ve adapted Ava to easily & accurately put captions to all aspects of remote life. For us, accessible video calls look more like this, on any platform you choose:

Looks much better, right? Ava works for every platform and 10+ languages!

Substantially Better Accuracy for Online Meetings

So today, we’re making two important updates:

  • The automatic captioning technology powering Ava has been improved specifically for all online meetings (reaching ~90-95% for English). You’ll see the difference!
  • Ava Desktop is now available for instant, one-click captions! It’s available for all free AND paid plans! Download it now!

We’re sharing below all the tips that worked for us as a remote organization so deaf/hard-of-hearing people never feel left out from an online meeting or a lecture again (applicable during this Coronavirus outbreak and anytime after!). We’ll keep this list up-to-date as we’re upping our tooling.

Online Work Meetings, Fully Accessible with Ava

What you’ll need

  • A computer to attend online meetings (with a proper set-up, Ava can caption any meeting)
  • An Ava Starter or Pro subscription (free 15-day trial, zero commitment: see for yourself. If this works for you, companies usually sponsor it)
  • Ava Desktop installed on your computer (download it here)!

1–1: Individual Conference Calls (Audio/Video)

  • Audio Check
    - Make sure your computer volume is turned on high, then join the conference call.
  • Caption Check
    - Open Ava Desktop and click on “Start Captions Now
    - With Ava Starter or Pro, expect 90%+ accuracy for online meetings
    - In a critical meeting in which you need perfect caption quality? We also offer Ava Scribe, for 99% accurate captions with actual transcription professionals (similar to CART). Learn more.

💡 Pro Tip: With Ava, you can save and share the transcripts (but not the audio) when desired

2–4 People: Small Conference Calls

  • Audio Check
    - Make sure your computer volume is turned on high, then join the conference call.
  • Caption Check
    - Open Ava Desktop and click on “Start Captions Now
    - With Ava Starter or Pro, expect 90%+ accuracy for online meetings
    - In a critical meeting in which you need perfect caption quality? We also offer Ava Scribe, for 99% accurate captions with actual transcription professionals (similar to CART). Learn more.
  • Invite participants
    - Share your unique Ava Link to the other participants. From Ava Desktop, expand the caption window, then click on the green “+ Invite Participant” button in the top right corner
    - Ask participants to open the Ava Link on their computer. Once they give permission to enable the microphone, they can all keep speaking, no app download needed!

💡 Pro Tip: Make sure everyone is using headphones (wired or Bluetooth okay!). This will ensure the best quality captions

5+ People: Large Conference Calls

This setup is similar to calls with a small group, but we recommend using Scribe for meetings with a lot of participants. Our live-transcription professional will ensure a highly accurate transcription despite connection hiccups, as not everyone may be joining via Ava. Learn more to set it up.

  • Book a Scribe (optional)
    - With your Ava Starter or Ava Pro plan, you get 30 minutes of Ava Scribe time included! Schedule a Scribe here (just make sure to give us a 24-hour minimum heads-up).
  • Audio Check
    - While the set up is similar to small conference calls (see the previous section), it can also be a little more challenging if you are not familiar with all of the participants. Explain that it’s just a click away to make the meeting accessible.
  • Caption Check
    - When everyone is connected to Ava, you’re ready to go for the meeting! 
    - If you booked a Scribe, in Ava Desktop, expand the caption window, then click on “Improve Accuracy” in the top-right corner. In a matter of seconds, you will be connected to the Scribe you scheduled and your automatic transcription will be live-reviewed!

Online Classes, Fully Accessible with Ava

What you’ll need

  • A computer to attend online meetings (with a proper set-up, Ava can caption any class)
  • An Ava Starter or Pro subscription (free 15-day trial, zero commitment: see for yourself. If this works for you, we can coordinate with your school to get it sponsored for you!)
  • Ava Desktop installed on your computer (download it here)!

Audio Check

  • Make sure your computer volume is set to high. Join your online class, launch Ava Desktop and click “Start Captions Now
  • Option 1: If your computer volume is turned on high, accurate captions should start to appear.
  • Option 2: If you prefer using headphones (so there will be no sound in the room), you can share your Ava Link with the teacher, which will open Ava Web on their computer (they don’t need to download Ava!)
    - The link looks like this: app.ava.me/&youravaname (or in Ava Desktop, you can click on “+Invite Participant” in the top-right corner)
    - Once your teacher joins on Ava, they can just speak and you’ll see their name and captions appear on your screen.
    - You can also invite anyone else who will be speaking, including other students

Conversation Tips

  • If you don’t use your voice, you can reply by typing directly on the keyboard using Ava Web. Your teacher can read what you type in real-time on their screen.

Using Ava for Online Lectures

  • Ava does great for real-time conversations. But, that’s not the only thing Ava’s good at! Ava can be used to caption online videos (such as lectures or even social media videos) on the spot.

Book a Scribe (optional)

  • With Ava Starter or Pro, you get 30 minutes of Ava Scribe time included! This means access to the highest quality captions (99%).
  • If you need more Ava Scribe time, talk to your school administrator or manager about purchasing more time
  • Once you purchase Ava Scribe time, you’ll be able to schedule a Scribe as easily as adding a guest (with a 24-hour minimum heads-up.
  • Learn more about how Ava Scribe works here

What’s next?

Everywhere there are conversations, all deaf & hard-of-hearing people have the right to be fully included. With the power of technology and this inclusion principle guiding our choices, we’re opening new real possibilities during these changing times:

  • You should never again have to attend online meetings or classes not understanding a thing, because of the conferencing system that was chosen.
  • You should never again be denied minimal accessibility because of budget reasons.

With Ava, these trade-offs are now a thing of the past.

Onwards with you all,

The Ava Team

Post by Ava @avascribe
May 19, 2022

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