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Re: Acessibility of <audio> and <video>

From: David Poehlman <david.poehlman@handsontechnologeyes.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Sep 2008 07:13:24 -0400
Message-ID: <D7C6163FB3274607AB3887536CBD016C@HANDS>
To: "Ben Boyle" <benjamins.boyle@gmail.com>, "Henri Sivonen" <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Cc: "Dave Singer" <singer@apple.com>, "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>, "W3C WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>, "W3C Style List" <www-style@w3.org>

Some thoughts on captions are that they are all some folk who are blind can 
get at for one reason or another so they should be available as 
machinereadable text and they are often graphical in nature.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ben Boyle" <benjamins.boyle@gmail.com>
To: "Henri Sivonen" <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Cc: "Dave Singer" <singer@apple.com>; "HTML WG" <public-html@w3.org>; "W3C 
WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>; "W3C Style List" <www-style@w3.org>
Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2008 6:15 AM
Subject: Re: Acessibility of <audio> and <video>

On Thu, Sep 4, 2008 at 6:17 PM, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi> wrote:
> I think transcripts should not be considered accessibility-only data.
> Transcripts are useful to users who can hear just fine.

This is very true. Transcripts actually serve particularly well as low
bandwidth content to lead people in to multimedia elements.

(Not saying this is the only way to use transcripts, or the best way,
or anything like that ... it's just one approach that I happen to

> I think an automated
> association mechanism isn't necessary here. <a
> href='transcript.html'>Transcript</a> should do.


> Not hearing audio is (for practical modeling purposes) a single dimension:
> One can hear, one can't hear well, one is deaf. I don't know if "can't 
> hear
> well" maps simply to "captions on", ...

Captions on is pretty good for "can't hear well" in my opinion. Two
scenarios I'm familiar:
1. sometimes it's not practical or appropriate to have audio in the
work environment... captions would be useful.
2. there's nothing better than captions when trying to watch something
and the kids are underfoot making a ruckus (or alternatively, they're
being nice and quiet and you don't want to risk disturbing the peace!)

Not to downplay the significance of deafness, just pointing out audio
is very much dependent on the user's context. Web browsers aren't
always run in environments well suited to audio. Providing captions,
and easy access to captions, gives choice back to the user - they can
make the right decision for them, and the experience they want, in a
given time and place.

> Transcripts are useful to users who can hear just fine.

Sometimes, captions too :)

Maybe captions should appear by default, maybe 80-90% opacity
background overlaid on the video with a little "X" to close them...
perhaps with a preference along the lines of "Don't show me captions
again". I'd love a browser that did that. I wish mythtv did that!!

Is caption positioning important? On TV, dialogue often appears near
the person who is speaking it. Quite a useful technique. Not so fond
of the "positioning captions over faces is preferable to obscuring the
opening credits" technique ... guess browsers have the option to place
the captions completely outside the video space (though that may not
be optimal?)

Received on Thursday, 4 September 2008 11:14:07 UTC

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