Web Accessibility requirements (WCAG) may fall on the shoulders of browser and video player developers, but are we doing our fair share as video producers?
I love when I come across something online that lends an unexpected boost to my feelings on something I’ve become passionate about! This morning I was able to set aside an hour of my time to watch a gathering of individuals discussing the direction of web accessibility requirements (WCAG) and how it can be served as built-in features within online video players, YouTube included. I was kind of “blown away” by what I witnessed during the coordinated forum gathering!
I arrived at the forum after following a link inside a recent email from 3Play Media to a webinar that took place back in April of this year (2015). The panel was rather impressive, including several big players that make up the online video industry such as:
- Matt Schweitz, Engineering Manager, Google/YouTube
- Vlad Vuskovic, Product Manager, Google/YouTube
- Eric Boyd, Director of Product, JW Player
- Steve Heffernan, Author, Video.js
- Terrill Thompson, Technology Accessibility Specialist, University of Washington, Able Player
- Greg Kraus (Moderator), IT Accessibility Coordinator, North Carolina State University
While watching the webinar, I realized just how lacking I am when it comes to the language of coding video into website pages and the depth of the technology being utilized. I know a little HTML (not so much HTML5), and probably just enough to get me in trouble, but the technical jargon some of these guys (gurus?) were using was somewhat over my head!
All the same, the message I took away was that these companies are working hard and taking the brunt of the responsibility, alongside browser developers (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari) when it comes to providing the desired user experience for those folks within our population that have to deal with undesirable hurdles when interacting with video online. But it’s not just about that, as you’ll see.
My Favorite Moment…
By far, I would have to say that my favorite presenter for the hour was Terrill Thompson from the University of Washington (Able Player). Terrill mentioned in his opening statements how humbled he was to be invited to participate with such a prestigious forum. However, I believe after hearing his presentation, and realizing how bountiful his contributions to this “user experience” issue have been, many of the panel were probably honored and humbled to have him aboard! What do you think?
What can we do as producers to provide better accessibility in our videos?
Yes, that’s right. If you make videos online you’re a “video producer” and if you upload content onto Youtube or Vimeo or any other video hosting site, you’re asking the world to interact with it. How can YOU begin to make a difference by “upping your game” when it comes to your video productions?
I’ve revisited this topic in a recent post I did earlier in the year; Transcribing Video Using YouTube’s Closed Captioning. I’ve been a big proponent to closed captioning my own videos that I upload to YouTube since 2013, when I produced my first video on the subject from a marketing perspective. I must have made some ripples back then (and even today), because my original video has received over 17,000 hits on YouTube and is still ranking on page 1 of Google as the #1 video on how to do it! I have since updated the video in 2015 to catch up with some of the new enhancements made by YouTube and their internal automatic closed captioning feature.
YouTube’s goal is to have every video that uploads to its platform be automatically captioned by it’s own internal voice recognition software. That is a big goal and a task worthy of praise if you ask me!
Anything we as producers can do to help in that endeavor, would surely be appreciated and I’m certain a little sense of community service could be had if we all stepped up our game by providing the necessary transcriptions or worked on the closed captioning ourselves to make the message clear for all those that may come across it.
Watch the video …to see (and hear) for yourself.
I recommend all of my video producing friends out there take an hour to watch this webinar, then reflect on how your experience viewing it might have been had all of the cool features they spoke of during the webinar actually been available for you to interact with it today! The future of online video has astounding implications!
Why not become a part of something great? Closed Captions (CC), transcriptions, textual and audio descriptions… there’s something we can all do together to make online video something special indeed!
After you’ve watched the recording (there’s no sales pitch in it at all), come back and let’s discuss!
This is to hoping your experience with my up-and-coming video productions is a pleasurable one!
Click the following link for the follow-up article by 3Play Media and be sure to leave a comment!
P.S. Even if you don’t like the idea of transcribing video yourself, there are others out there that would be happy to do it for you. My HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION goes to my friends at GoTranscript.