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Re: [1.2] Captions and audio descriptions at level 1?

From: Alan Chuter <achuter@teleservicios.es>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 13:41:48 +0100
To: w3c-wai-gl-request@w3.org, "Yvette P. Hoitink" <y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl>, w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-ID: <WorldClient-F200501251341.AA41480055@teleservicios.es>

This is my first posting to the list. I agree with Yvette that Level 1
criteria need to be be practical for all websites, not just for big companies.

I think this issue parallels description of still photographs. Shouldn't
websites provide detailed descriptions of all photographic images? Perhaps
it would be better to focus on the functionality of the content, the
message it conveys.

I'm concerned that this criterion implies that a website, when capturing
reality, has to make accessible what was previously not accessible. For
example, if a blind person goes to a football match and can't see it,
that's acceptable (at least we have to live with it); but if the same
person sees it on a website, it has be described. The web can be a tool
for adding accessibility information, but should it be mandatory? Content
that is created specially for the web, like a diagram, is different to
captured reality, like video of a live event. For the 1945 film that
Yvette mentions, for example, the web could be a useful and cheap way to
make the content accessible, but the original film isn't. If it was
projected in a cinema it wouldn't be described, I think.

I think this is not at all testable. Their are so many different
intepretations of how to describe a sequence, of what's important and what
isn't. It's debatable for single media content, but for multimedia it
would be impossible to get two evaluators to agree.

I hope this is some help.

Alan Chuter
Accessibility Consultant
Fundosa Teleservicios, Grupo Fundosa
Tel: 91 121 03 31
Fax: 91 375 70 51

-----Original Message-----
From: "Yvette P. Hoitink" <y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl>
To: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2005 12:52:47 +0100
Subject: [1.2] Captions and audio descriptions at level 1?

>  Hello everyone, 
> Captions and audio descriptions are hard
> For some time now, I've felt there is a big problem with the
> requirements at
> level 1 of guideline 1.2. At the moment we require both captions and
> audio
> descriptions. That feels like a very tall order to me. Issue 1151 talks
> about scoping schemes that might help to cope with this but to me it
> feels
> strange that we would write guidelines for which we know even level 1
> is so
> hard to achieve that websites that have multimedia content would almost
> have
> to use scoping to comply. Also, I have heard people say repeatedly that
> they
> do NOT want horizontal scoping, i.e. 'my entire website is accessible
> accept
> for the images'. Allowing horizontal scoping for multimedia feels
> inconsistent to me.
> Let's remember that a large portion of the web content out there is not
> made
> by professional companies with multimillion budgets for their websites.
> A
> lot of web content is made by individuals, non-profit organizations or
> small
> companies. With the growing bandwidth available, more of these websites
> will
> want to include multimedia. I predict that if they see WCAG requires
> them to
> do audio descriptions and captions, they will either choose not to
> follow
> WCAG or not use multimedia at all. Both cases will harm accessibility
> since
> multimedia is very helpful for people with cognitive disabilities.
> Another problem is that it takes professionals to create good captions
> and
> audio descriptions. If done by well-willing amateurs, chances are they
> will
> not produce anything that is usable for the people who need it. I think
> those people would be better served by a good textual description than
> by
> bad captions and audio descriptions or no multimedia at all.
> Real-world example
> Our company built software for entering information about the history
> of a
> village. The software itself publishes the information online on a
> website (
> <http://www.erfgoedoverijssel.nl/> http://www.erfgoedoverijssel.nl,
> Dutch
> only). 
> This software is being used by the local historical society where
> volunteers
> are entering documents about their village. The software allows them to
> attach images, video and audio files to the documents they are
> describing.
> For example: a 1945 film of the liberation of the village by Canadians.
> Since we want the website to be accessible, we had to think of a way to
> have
> the volunteers enter the metadata to make the multimedia accessible.
> Doing
> captions and audio descriptions was not an option, because there is no
> budget for training the volunteers, that's not what the volunteers
> signed up
> for and it would be costly to build it into the software. We decided to
> just
> have a title and a description field where volunteers can describe the
> multimedia in detail. In the website, the titles are used as the
> alternative
> for the multimedia and the description is available through a hyperlink
> (this information is also valued highly by visitors without special
> needs).
> At this point in time, the only type of media that has been entered is
> images (no multimedia). The website meets WCAG1 level AA and almost all
> of
> the AAA requirements as well.
> Now this is where it gets ugly: As soon as one of the volunteers adds a
> video, no WCAG conformance can be claimed at all anymore!! We drop from
> almost AAA to zero. But I really feel we did do everything we could to
> make
> the website accessible.
> My proposal
> To make WCAG2 a success, I really want level 1 to be feasible for all
> websites without having to use scoping. As a litmus test, I think all
> of our
> level 1 success criteria should be doable for non-professionals with
> limited
> time, skills and budget. 
> For multimedia, I propose that at level 1 we just require a label and
> text
> description. The requirement for audio descriptions and captions would
> then
> move to level 2.
> Yvette Hoitink
> Heritas, Enschede, the Netherlands
> E-mail: y.p.hoitink@heritas.nl
> WWW:  <http://www.heritas.nl/> http://www.heritas.nl 
Received on Tuesday, 25 January 2005 12:42:35 UTC

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