I’m working with World IA Day 2016 – a one-day (February 20, 2016), annual celebration focused on the practice and education of Information Architecture. As accessibility coordinator, I’m helping local events be welcoming to everyone.
Thinking about planning an accessible event might seem overwhelming for a volunteer group. But it doesn’t have to be. The key is to take it in steps so that accessibility-thinking is just part of everything you do.
This series of articles will help you make sure that your event welcomes everyone, including people who might need help with mobility, vision, or other disabilities. We’ll follow along as you plan your event, with tips and resources.
Captions for VideoThe launch of the World IA Day 2016 Teaser video reminded me that we need to talk about captions to make sure that everyone has access to the information in videos, whether they are promos or recordings of a presentation.Little known fact: the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology won an Emmy for their work to develop closed captions. The same feature that lets us watch 3 different games at time in a sports bar opens the door to video content for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.Like so many accessibility features, captions are also helpful for many reasons: Maybe you are in a noisy space. don’t have earphones. Need help understanding the language. In fact, YouTube (and other video players ) use the same features to provide alternative language subtitles – perfect for the WIAD international audience.It’s actually pretty easy to make captions.The good news is that the days of painstakingly figuring out the time codes are long gone. Most of the big video servers have tools that make it easy.The simplest possible situation is a video like the WIAD 2016 Teaser. It has background music, but no speech at all. All we had to do was put in a single caption for the whole video:♫ Music playing ♫It might seem unnecessary since the music is just to set a mood, but with the caption, someone who can’t hear knows they aren’t missing any critical information.What if the video has a voice-over? Chances are you have the script with the text. On YouTube, you can just upload that script and the system will automatically match up the text and create the captions. If the sync isn’t perfect, you can tweak it using the built-in tools.Sometimes, you have no script at all, like a recording of a presentation. When that’s the case, you have to roll up your sleeves for a little bit of work.
- The fastest and most accurate way to get started is to make a transcript. On YouTube, you just upload the transcript and the automatic sync process creates the captions, matching the written text using their speech recognition engine.
- You can also use a crowd-sourcing tool like Amara to get many people work together to create captions. Each person can do a little bit of work (or work in a different language), so no one has to do it all.
Want to make your captions even cooler? Don’t just transcribe the words: add information about sound effects, dramatic information, and identify the speakers.
- If you are working in YouTube, you’ll notice a tool create automatic captions. Unfortunately, it’s not really ready for prime time. The mistakes can be funny, or they can make the captions incomprehensible. Advocates call them “craptions.” But those automatic captions have their uses. Use them as a starting point, download the file and then correct the text as a shortcut to making a good transcript. Saves a lot of time.
- If there are sound effects, just put it in parentheses: (loud crash) or (phone ringing) or I’ll get that. (phone ringing stops)
- Add dramatic information at the beginning of a line: (WHISPERS) But don’t tell anyone!
Want to learn a little bit more about captions and subtitles?
- Identify the speakers by adding their name or other info: JAMES SMITH, Hometown Press: I’d like to knowor PRESENTER: Any questions? AUDIENCE MEMBER: My question is…..
Captioning tools and accessible video players
- Audio Accessibility with Svetlana Kouznetsova. In a podcast with Sarah Horton, Sevta shares her dual perspectives as a UX designer and someone who is deaf.
- The National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) at WGBH in Boston has a great collection of articles
- Captions, Transcripts and Audio Descriptions on WebAIM. Good basics for definitions and examples.
If you find another good tool for making video accessible, share it here and tell us how you use it!
- YouTube captions and subtitles help
- Vimeo video player and creating captions and subtitles on Vimeo
- Amara free captioning tools that support crowd-sourced community captioning
- 3PlayMedia captioning, transcription, subtitling service
- iScribd – online transcription and captions
- OzPlayer – a completely accessible video player, free for non-profit use
- NCAM’s list of free tools including Magpie
Next in the series: Registration Forms