Revolutionizing Communication: Ava Wins Microsoft's Special Recognition Award

Microsoft announced Ava CC as its Editor's Choice Winner in the Special Recognition category of the eminent Microsoft Store App Awards 2023. The award spotlights Ava's innovation and dedication to expanding communication access to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community with Ava CC, the desktop version of Ava live captions for Windows.

Image of the Ava logo in white with a blue backdrop with a purple banner at the top declaring Ava as the Special Recognition Winner of the 2023 Microsoft Store App Awards

Image Source: Microsoft

Microsoft's Special Recognition

“In this year’s Special Recognition award, an app has stood out for its exceptional contributions to accessibility. This app has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to empowering individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing and ensuring their inclusion with its super user-friendly features and intuitive interface. It is with great pleasure that we announce Ava Accessibility as the deserving recipient of the prestigious Special Recognition Award. Congratulations to Ava Accessibility for its outstanding achievements and commitment to accessibility for all!” (source: Windows Developer Blog)

The Microsoft Store App Awards celebrate and showcase outstanding applications whose design, user experience and customer value stand out amongst the one million+ applications in the Microsoft Store. Last year, companies such as Disney+, Spotify and Canva received awards. Ava is proud to stand in such good company.

Ava CC on Desktop for Captions Everywhere, Every Time

This award recognizes Ava's commitment to the Deaf & hard-of-hearing community — especially when confronted with software applications built with inaccessible web design. Ava CC was developed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when the world went remote, and the lack of accessibility and ADA compliance of various websites became blatantly apparent.

When a new social platform or service pops up, 99% of the time there are no captions. Captions are not prioritized in design roadmaps — and today, billions of podcasts and videos remain without captions. For this purpose, Ava provides a simple solution to caption any and all online video or audio content.

Ava works across various platforms and devices. Ava CC in the Microsoft App Store works specifically for Windows computers to capture live captions across any video conferencing service, browser or other application.

Ava CC captions speech to text in real time to create the best possible experience for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people to participate in conversations. Ava's mobile and desktop captions are fast and highly accurate — critical for conversations at work, school, in health settings, with law enforcement and in daily life beyond.

Breaking Down Communication Barriers

Ava believes inclusive solutions cannot simply be an add-on to existing technologies so it built an app from the ground up to improve communications for Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. While Ava applauds all efforts to make apps more inclusive, most fall short on delivering a premium experience. They are either platform specific, do not work on mobile, are not accurate enough, not fast enough, or do not have the features or user interfaces that invite true accessibility.

Ava CC for Windows displayed on a computer screen featuring Ava captions below a team meeting


Image Source: Ava

Simply put, Ava is designed for autonomy — and pulls in feedback from its users constantly. Ava has a floating, movable and resizable caption window because many users needed to use multiple applications during a conversation. And one user in particular told Ava she was struggling to understand the context of what was being said because she missed a previous sentence in the conversation — so Ava added the ability to scroll in order to re-read any part of the conversation. Now everyone using the app can take advantage of it. Ava also offers text-to-speech capabilities that provide vocal audio to anyone who cannot vocalize, but still has a voice to share.

Additional features are available to improve communication like adjustable type size, translation for 15+ languages, speaker identification, and the option to add human scribes to reach accuracy rates at 99% and meet ADA guidelines. Ava Scribe combines novel artificial intelligence with professional captioners to deliver highly accurate and fast real-time captions for any in-person or online conversation.

Deaf-Owned & Operated

For Founder and CODA, Thibault Duchemin and Co-Founder and Deaf CTO, Skinner Cheng, Ava’s live captioning solution was built from passion and out of necessity. In a recent interview with academic Deaf blog, The Mind Hears, Skinner tells the story when he first met Thibault and fellow Co-Founder, Pieter Doevendans when he saw a post on a school bulletin board:

“It said they were offering some accommodations (with a machine, or an assistive tool), which would allow Deaf and hard-of-hearing people better means to communicate during job interviews. So, I contacted them. And that was the first time we met — in some cafe in downtown San Francisco.”

Deaf Gain is a vital part of Ava’s mission. The commitment to serving the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community with a high-grade communication solution drives the work of Ava’s entire team.

Image of Ava Founder and CODA, Thibault Duchemin wearing a blue "Ava" logo Tshirt making a speech on stage and an image of Skinner Cheng, Deaf Founder of Ava working at a computer.

Image Source: The Mind Hears

As Ava looks to the future, the development team remains focused on enhancing the app's features and expanding its reach. This includes refining the real-time captioning technology, exploring new platforms, and forging partnerships with organizations that share Ava's vision of accessibility and inclusion.

Support Inclusion with Ava

With ongoing development and support, Ava will continue to break down communication barriers and set new standards for accessibility and inclusivity in technology. If you or anyone you know needs live captions, and would like to keep up-to-date on the accessibility movement, there are a few things you can do:

  1. Download and use Ava on the Microsoft Store or on any platform, and provide feedback and suggestions for improvement.

  2. Share Ava with friends, family, and colleagues, especially those who may benefit from its services.

  3. Stay informed about Ava's updates, new features, and partnerships by following its social media channels and blog.

Ava and other accessibility tools contribute to a more inclusive world where access to all communication is on equal footing.

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