Multimedia and Accessibility: Caption Types for Online Media

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In the second video in our Multimedia and Accessibility series, Glenda Sims discusses the different caption types for online media.

Please go to www.deque.com/cvaa to request our white paper, and learn more about how the CVAA affects online audiovisual content distributers.

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Video Transcript:

00:24

When we're talking about making video content accessible, there are actually two pieces.

00:31

The more commonly understood piece is captions: that's where we're trying to make sure that

00:37

the audio content of the video is accessible to people who cannot hear. That means that

00:43

all dialog and important sounds are turned into a written caption or a written transcript

00:50

that is then time-synced to the video. It's also valuable that - when adding the caption

00:58

that you also make the pure transcript, in a text format, available. While this is

01:05

not a technical requirement - to make the transcript by itself accessible and available

01:11

to people - I would highly recommend it. If you've gone to the effort to add a time-sync

01:17

caption to your video that means that you have a transcript file available. Why is the

01:23

transcript file useful? Because for people who may need to slow down and read that content

01:30

or to reread it or who are easily distracted by, perhaps, what's happening visually on

01:35

the screen; they can focus on that text transcript and sometimes get better access to the information.

01:43

So I think of it as a double bonus. The additional piece that a lot of people are not aware of

01:49

for making video content accessible is called "audio description," and this accessibility

01:56

is for a whole different type of user disability; and that is for people who cannot see. What

02:03

we're trying to do is describe what is important happening visually in the video to make sure

02:11

that they get all that content. In the example of this video, you wouldn't need very much

02:19

audio description because what we're dealing with here is a video of me talking directly

02:25

to the camera and there's nothing critical being shown. There's no graph, there's no

02:31

demonstration where I'm saying, "And look here, you can obviously see what's occurring

02:37

in this demo." If there were that type of element happening, you would need an audio

02:44

description. My best way of describing audio description is: imagine you're at a movie

02:51

and you're blind. Imagine you're in a horror movie, and you're blind, and you're only listening

02:57

to the dialog. And, for those who can see, there's a shadow on the wall of someone holding

03:06

a gun. This is a really important visual element that would need to be audio described to the user.

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