Formats of news across various mediums are seldom compatible with the languages and strengths of disabled people.
For such differently-abled people, browsing through news and daily happenings can be especially challenging, and might make them feel disengaged from the world.
Newz Hook, a news website catering to the differently-abled, is here to put an end to such troubles.
Started by Shilpi Kapoor, Newz Hook is a venture that brings technology to the aid of the differently abled, facilitating them with a daily dose of news and encouragement.
It is a venture of Barrier Break– a company working towards innovation and inclusivity of the differently-abled.
Ramya Venkitesh, from Newz Hook, told The Better India, “News is a way for people to get access to the happenings in the world. For people with disabilities access to news has been challenging. A person who is blind or has low vision finds it difficult to read the printed newspaper or get access to news online. For people with hearing impairment sign language is their first language. Similarly, for many people, English is the second language, and understanding news becomes difficult for them.”
So, Newz hook decided to shake the format of mainstream media and evolve it to cater to people with disabilities. They use formats tailored for different kinds of audiences. For those with hearing impairment, Newz Hook, the winner of NCPEDP-MphasiS Universal Design Awards, and the Indian ISV Awards in 2016, uses the Indian sign language while for those with visual impairments, they use VoiceOver screen readers. They even have high contrast screens or different text sizes for an audience with semi-blindness
“Bechaara, Suffering, Dependent- that’s how people usually label the 100 million disabled people in India,” Ramya told TBI. “But Shilpi Kapoor believes that technology can be the game changer for inclusion. She is motivated to ensure that as Barrier Break scales, it impacts the lives of the disabled people in India, and globally.”
The website has also won the Ascent Awards and Zero Project Award in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
What’s more, Newz Hook wants to work as a platform to create a community of differently- abled people who unite as a force of strength. They aim to highlight stories of people across the world who have overcome their disabilities to reach the skies!
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“We highlight stories and information that will let people see people with disabilities as equal, as able, as independent and with empathy!” Ramya told TBI. “We disseminate information to assist people with disabilities, and their circle of influence become aware of what’s happening in the world.”
The website receives about 20,000 users daily, while their app, also called Newz Hook, has over 10,000 subscribers. It is certainly inspiring to see the inclusive nature of the website that brings motivating stories to people who need it, and in the way they need it.