10 Tips for Implementing Accessible Online Media [Transcript]
LILY BOND: Welcome, everyone, and thank you for joining this webinar entitled 10 Tips for Implementing Accessible Online Media. I’m Lily Bond from 3Play Media, and I’m joined today by Janet Sylvia, who’s a web accessibility trainer. We have about 45 minutes for this presentation, and we’ll save 15 minutes for Q&A at the end. And with that, I will hand it off to Janet, who’s going to start off our presentation.
JANET SYLVIA: OK. Thanks, Lily and everyone. I’m just going to get set up, get my arrow ready. OK. So we’re all set to begin. This is our agenda for the session. First, we’ll have an introduction to accessible online media, and that will be followed by 10 tips for implementing accessible online media. We’ll begin with five tips for administrators and policymakers, and then have five tips for media creators.
So by definition, accessible means that a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally integrated manner with substantially equivalent ease of use. The person with a disability must be able to obtain the information as fully, equally, and independently as a person without a disability. This definition comes from settlement agreements between the US Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, and institutes of higher education in the US.
With this definition in mind, is your online media accessible? Media types include audio only– might be a podcast, a lecture series, even public service announcements– or video only like a video tutorial, or audio and video combined. Some examples include audio-narrated PowerPoint presentations, streaming video, and lecture capture.
Now consider the four disability types– hearing, visual, motor, and cognitive. And for each of these, consider if your media is accessible for these disability types.
So first, is your podcast accessible for a person who is deaf or hard of hearing? Or is your video tutorial accessible for someone who’s blind or visually impaired? Consider an audio-narrated PowerPoint presentation. Can an individual with a mobility impairment access the media player to start, stop, or pause the presentation, or can they complete a quiz or a poll that’s embedded in the presentation? Can an individual with a cognitive disability like dyslexia access the text on your presentation slides or embedded in lecture capture? So unless you’ve made your media accessible, the answer may be no.
So how do we make our media accessible? Well, for audio only, provide a text transcript of the spoken word for individuals who cannot hear the audio content. For video only, provide a video description, which is a text document describing the key visual elements that are needed for comprehension. And for audio and video combined, provide closed captions, the text transcript, and the video description. These documents can be combined into one document called the descriptive text transcript. Or provide audio description track of the descriptive text. And also be sure to provide an accessible media player.
So who is responsible for accessible online media? Well, everyone who is involved in the design, development, and delivery of that online media. And this includes administrators who are responsible for the policies and procedures at your organization regarding web accessibility.
You have digital media developers, people who create streaming media content. You have faculty and instructors who post media on websites and online courses, instructional designers who may create online video tutorials, technology teams who are responsible for where the online media is housed. And we have procurement personnel who purchase the software that’s used to create your web-based media, and also website developers who are asked to post online media to websites. And there are many others.
This can be a complex concern for a college or a university. So how do you develop strategies for ensuring that all of these individuals are aware of the accessibility requirements for your online media? And we’ll answer this question today by providing 10 tips for implementing accessible online media. And we’ll begin with five tips for administrators and policymakers.
So number one, know the legal requirements. First, we have civil rights legislation. Some examples are the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the ADA. This covers places of public accommodation. And it’s important to note that courts have ruled that the internet qualifies as a place of public accommodation. We have the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, the CVAA. This covers video previously broadcast on TV. Then we have Section 504, the Rehabilitation Act, and this requires the accessibility of programs, services, and activities at colleges and universities.
So then we have the standards and guidelines. And these tell us how to comply with these laws. So for example, we have the FCC quality requirements. And these cover quality or the accuracy of your closed captioning for video programming for television. We have the Section 508 standards that cover electronic information and communications technology. And we also have the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The acronym WCAG is pronounced Wa-kag, WCAG 2.0, and these are international web accessibility guidelines or best practices. And also, there will be laws for your home state, your province, territory, or country.
There are two landmark cases to be aware of, and these are cases that we can learn from to avoid making the same mistakes. So first, the National Association of the Deaf, or the NAD, versus Harvard, and a similar lawsuit against MIT– these were both filed last year in 2015, and in both cases, Harvard and MIT were cited because they failed to provide captions, accurate captions, and text transcripts. It’s also important to note in this case that they mentioned content that was housed both on internal servers and external or third-party websites like YouTube.
Then we have the NAD versus Netflix. This was in 2010, and Netflix had a media library of inaccessible video. And this is an important note because the legal settlement states that Netflix qualifies as a place of public accommodation per the ADA. And this is the internet even though there was no physical structure. So your organization may be the same.
Number two, develop and distribute an accessibility policy within your organization. The policy should include goals and targets and an implementation plan. So beginning with goals and targets, first, state the standards for compliance, specifically the FCC quality standards or Section 508 or WCAG 2.0. Be sure that your policy states the scope. Does it cover media on websites, in online courses, internal and external servers? It should also list who is responsible.
Those individuals that are responsible for the design, development, and delivery of your online media, they need to find their role or job title listed in this policy to be sure they understand it applies to them. And then monitoring– how will you self-audit, and how frequently? Delivery milestones– and these are the timeline for your deliverables for the reporting and remediating of accessibility problems that you find. And be sure that your policy lists accessibility contacts at your organization.
And then your implementation plan– policies are only as good as the plans to implement them. So ensure that your accessibility policy is announced and available to all personnel within your organization.
Number three, administrative buy-in– this should be consistent across your organization.
So if we consider a university, a single university may have 10 or 20 individual colleges on their campus, like the College of Education or the College of Arts and Sciences. And each of those colleges is like a silo with different administrators who frequently have different levels of buy-in for accessibility requirements. So it’s counterproductive for an organization to allow some units to bypass accessibility requirements, while others are making efforts to comply. So that’s both inconsistent and it’s a risk for your organization as a whole.
Also ensure that administrators are knowledgeable about the accessibility policy. So for example, you might send an annual memo to all the deans, directors, and department heads at your organization. Ensure that all of the administrators have the same basic level of understanding regarding accessibility at your organization. And then the policy should be distributed campus-wide or organization-wide, and include distribution to individuals that we listed before who are responsible for creating media and posting it online.
So I worked with a group of website developers a few years ago. And they were responsible for ensuring that all of the content on their websites was accessible at the time it was posted. However, out of 35 attendees in that session, only one person was aware that their university had an accessibility policy. So again, this is a risk for your organization as a whole.
And then provide support for who is responsible. Recognize the achievements of individuals who meet accessibility requirements, and support their efforts in doing so. If a website developer tells a content provider that they can’t post video on the website without meeting those accessibility requirements, provide backup and support for that decision. If not, it’s detrimental to both morale and the implementation of your accessibility policy. And then budget and resource allocation– it is the responsibility of administrators to ensure that funding is set aside at the beginning of a fiscal year for costs that are associated with creating accessible media.
And number four, budget and resources. It’s so important, and it’s often overlooked. Captioning and transcription services, this is an expertise. And it’s provided I trained professionals, and it comes at a cost. It’s a very reasonable cost given the deliverables. Budgets need to have those moneys set aside as soon as the budget’s established. Then if by the end of the year, there’s money left over, it can be reallocated, but it’s very difficult to unexpectedly and sometimes urgently find funding when captioning and transcription services are required.
And also, training for who is responsible– you might bring in accessibility trainers or provide funding for your personnel to attend accessibility conferences, both for learning and networking with other individuals who are also achieving accessible online media.
And funding options are always a common question. How do we pay for these services? And there are a number of items that have been successful with individuals that I’ve worked with, and I wanted to share these successes with you.
First, of course, a line item on your department’s budget right at the beginning of the fiscal year– set aside funding for it. But you may also create a database of accessible online media at your organization. You can share this captioned and transcribed media across an organization so you’re not paying multiple times to caption the same or similar content. Or you might use media repositories like Lynda.com or Films on Demand. They both provide captioned video with text transcripts. And you may need to check the content for video descriptions.
Also, if you establish a fellows program and they are provided stipends– and this is common in higher education for online learning programs where new online learning faculty instructors receive a stipend to develop their online courses– part of that stipend should require the costs that are allocated for captioning or transcription services. Also, grants are available for captioning costs, and Lily mentioned the handout provided at the beginning of our session today. And there’s a link there for a great document provided by 3Play Media where you can look up some grants to help cover the cost of captioning.
And speaking of grants, you should always include a line item on grant-funded projects or proposals. You can require that all grant-funded proposals go through a centralized office at your organization. And then if there’s a multimedia component, add a line item to that proposal for things like captioning and transcription costs. And then those funds can be absorbed through the grant funding.
Personnel hours– be sure to allocate a development time for your personnel, a time to proof deliverables that are returned if you outsource your captioning and transcription services, and time to create descriptive video and text transcript. That’s also important. Procurement bids to secure best rates– some captioning services have bulk rates, and so if you pool your resources across an organization or university, you may be able to get better rates and save funding that way.
And also, there’s an option to purchase already captioned video. You can require vendors to provide caption tutorials with software products that you purchase. These are just some funding options that have been successful for other organizations.
And number five, have a prioritization plan. What will you caption first? Or what is your highest priority for video that needs to be captioned?
Well, it’s based on three things– need, content, and access statistics. So if we begin with need, if you have an accommodation request, that’s your highest priority. That needs to be captioned or transcribed first. Also, information that’s required by individuals with disabilities– consider videos that advertise disability services at your organization or emergency services, job applications, or even job benefit information. All of that, if it’s provided in video, it needs to be captioned. And also, all content that’s mission critical, if it’s related to job duties or adhering to policies or just conducting business.
Regarding content, first, consider if video is actually the best format for your content delivery. Many times people will just take video very quickly and provide information in video format, but perhaps, a brochure or printed text transcripts are better. Also, consider the video quality. If you have a very poor quality video, then it might not be worth the time and expense to have that video captioned. And so that’s something to consider.
And also think of your audience. Is this a high enrollment course, or is there a limited audience for the video itself? And last, access statistics. You consider the production date, the date of last access, content that was most recently accessed or most frequently accessed, and also the lifespan of your video.
So we worked with a faculty member who had about 1,000 videos that he wanted to caption. And his first choice was by topic that he thought was most important. But when we checked the access records, some of that information had not been accessed in over seven years. And so don’t spend your limited caption dollars to caption information that has not been recently accessed. Caption the most recently accessed or most frequently accessed first.
So these are our five tips for policymakers and administrators. And now I’m going to turn this back to Lily for our next five tips.
LILY BOND: Thank you so much, Janet. As she mentioned, I’m going to cover tips for media creators. So we’re going to look at it from two different sides– administrative and policy and the creators.
So my first tip is to choose an accessible media player. If you are not already pigeonholed into a player, it’s important to consider what type of media player you’re going to use before you start thinking about creating the media because there are a lot of accessibility features that are ideal to have in your media player.
So what should an accessible media player have? In order to comply with WCAG AA standards, you’re going to need a media player that allows you to add a closed caption track as well as to add a text transcript or text video description track. Ideally, it should be able to add audio description tracks. However, a lot of media players do not allow for that, and I will get into that shortly. And then level AAA of WCAG is to add sign language to your video. So that’s an ideal situation that your video player would allow you to add a sign language track, but it’s not required by the AA standards.
And beyond that, your video player should have full functionality using a keyboard. So you shouldn’t need to use a mouse to access the video content. The video controls should have sufficient color contrast. And the video player should allow user customization.
So on this slide, there is a list of players with accessibility support, a disclaimer that this is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it is a list that includes some popular players that provide varying levels of accessibility support. And then note that if you are using YouTube, you need to make sure you’re using the HTML5 version because the Flash player is not accessible.
So the players that I have listed here are Able Player, JW Player, Video.js, which is what Brightcove uses, the HTML5 version of YouTube, Kaltura, Mediasite, the BBC iPlayer, PayPal, OzPlayer, and the Acorn Player. And on this slide is a screenshot of the Able Player, which is a fully accessible HTML5 video player. It provides full accessibility support, including sign language and audio description tracks, interactive transcripts, and accessible YouTube support. So that’s a really great option if you have the need to add audio description or sign language tracks. And it is, again, fully accessible.
Other features to consider when picking a media player include whether or not that player integrates with any vendors that you are currently using. If your captioning vendor, for instance, integrates with your media player, it can automate and simplify the process and make accessibility much, much easier for you. You should also check and see whether your media player supports any search plug-ins because those make the media more accessible for all viewers.
You should check and see whether or not the player allows for an HTML5 version instead of a Flash version. There are several that have both versions available. And you need to make sure that you’re using the HTML5 version.
You should also consider the tab index order of the player. I know that a lot of media players are working on improving their tab index order, which just means when you press Tab, which different controls does it move to next. Some of those are a little bit more intuitive than others.
And then finally, you should check and see if the player allows for the positioning of the captions on the screen to be placed somewhere other than the bottom center of the screen so that they can be moved to the top of the screen if there is any important visual content on the bottom third of your video.
The second tip here is challenges and solutions for inaccessible players. So again, if you are already pigeonholed into a media player that your institution is using, these are some tips to– they’re some workarounds for any inaccessible features of your current media player. So the first challenge is captions.
Challenge– the video player does not provide the ability to add a captions track. That’s very rare these days. Most media players do allow for the upload of caption files. However, some solutions include adding open captions to your video files. So you would actually burn the captions directly into your video, and then the captions would always play.
Solution two would be an interactive transcript. Those are not usually accessible by screen readers. But if your player does not allow you to add captions, an interactive transcript is a time-coded transcript. So it will highlight the words as they are spoken.
And then solution three would be to publish a version with captions using a free open source video player that you wouldn’t have to pay for so that you could provide a captioned version of the video by request.
The next challenge here is text transcript or video text description. The challenge would be that the video player does not provide the ability to add a text transcript or text video description. So the solutions here would be to paste the transcript on the page hosting the video or to link to the transcript from the video description, video page, or course page.
And a note here is that if you’re using YouTube, there’s an area for description, but only the first few lines are shown before there’s a Show More link. And that Show More link is not accessible to screen readers. So if you are placing your video description text transcript in the YouTube description, you need to actually link to that at the very beginning of the YouTube description, or it’s not going to be accessible to screen readers.
As a sidebar, what does a video description in a text transcript look like? This is a screen capture of a transcript that includes both video description and the text transcript. And a link to this is in the handout, but basically, you would show the description, “A man throws a football,” followed by the caption. And you would create a text document that looks like that.
The next challenge would be an audio description track. And this is definitely a challenge, because many media players do not provide the capability to add an audio description track even though it is a WCAG AA requirement. So there are some solutions here. They’re not perfect, but the first would be to paste or link to a text video description, which is the level A requirement in WCAG, or to include the video description in the transcript as I showed in the last slide.
The next solution would be to have the speaker in the video verbalize a description of what they are doing or of any visually relevant information when the video is recorded. So if all of the visual descriptions are included in the audio of the video track, then a separate audio description track is not required. And then the final solution would be to publish a second version of the video with an audio description track using a free player like Able Player that does support audio description. And that’s something that you could do by request.
The next challenge would be that the video player does not support a sign language track, which again, is not required by WCAG level AA, but it is a very nice feature for people who prefer sign language to captions. Solutions would be to record a sign language video to play side by side, or to publish a second version similar to the audio description track using a free player like Able Player that does support sign language.
The next challenge would be that the video player requires the use of a mouse instead of being able to be accessed by a keyboard. So the solution here, really, there’s not much you can do other than to publish a keyboard accessible version of the video, again using a player that does provide that capability.
This is a pretty new challenge, but this challenge is mobile or social video that autoplays, so if anyone uses Facebook, I’m sure that you have come across a video that when you scroll onto it, just plays on the screen without sound or captions. And you cannot tell what is going on at all.
So the solution here would be to publish your video with open captions. Or if you are publishing your video on Facebook, you can actually upload an SRT caption file to the video. And when you scroll onto that video in Facebook, it will automatically play with the captions. And then if you click Open that video, the audio will start. And the bonus here is that then the video will be accessible to everyone.
And then the final challenge here is YouTube automatic captions. The video already has automatic captions on it, and isn’t that enough? No, it is definitely not enough. A reminder that the Harvard MIT lawsuit called out the inaccessibility of the captions. So they were using YouTube automatic captions that were inaccurate, and the court said that that is not enough. So the solution here would be to edit the captions or upload accurate captions instead.
On the screen here, there’s a video that shows the automatic captions that say, “Plaques double dealing allowing double the Minot for them and” while what was really spoken was, “Flax, double the vanilla. Always double the vanilla. Cinnamon.” So you can tell that that caption there would absolutely not be accessible to anyone. It has absolutely nothing to do with what was really spoken.
So tip number three is to develop a manageable DIY process. And here, the main tip is to consider accessibility before recording because there’s a lot that you can do when you actually record the video that will make the accessibility much easier moving forward. So the first tip here is to verbally describe any visual elements whenever possible. I see that I have that twice on the screen, and I apologize for that. But the main thing here is that if you can have your speaker describe anything that they’re doing visually, then you won’t have to create a separate audio description track or text video description.
The second tip is to have your speaker read from a script if at all possible because then you already have an accurate transcript of the file and it’s much easier to create captions from that. The third tip here is to use a high quality microphone. If you’re using a high quality microphone, you’ll have much better audio quality, so if you are creating captions using speech recognition, it’s more likely to create a slightly better transcript to start from if you have good audio quality. And captioning vendors or your own captioners will have an easier time if the audio is clear.
And just a reminder that narrated PowerPoint presentations need captions, too. And that’s a great instance of when it would be really easy for the presenter to have a script that they are working off of and to describe any of the visual elements of the PowerPoint.
Another tip here is to use YouTube for captioning. I know that I just mentioned how horrible the automatic captions are, but YouTube provides a great interface for creating captions. You can either download and edit the YouTube automatic captions, and then reupload them as an accurate SRT file, or you can create your transcript from scratch, or use a script that you already have, and upload that to YouTube or copy and paste it into what you see on the screen here. And then just set the timing.
So what’s really complicated about doing captioning yourself is the actual formatting of the caption file. So YouTube can take care of that for you. And that makes it a much easier process.
Another tip is to consider in-house and outsourcing. You can actually save money by using a combination of the two. You might want to consider using DIY for short files, files that have a longer turnaround, files that someone in your office has expertise in, and then outsourcing files that you need turned around really quickly or files that are really long. Those just take a lot of time for someone to transcribe, and the time for your DIY captioners might be better spent on short files.
Another tip here is to make sure that your student workers, staff, and your vendors are held to high quality standards. So consistency is really critical with captioning, and the only way to ensure that is to develop a set of standards for captioning at your institution. You need to make sure that everyone is captioning in the same way. They’re using the same capitalization and using the same standards for sound effects and non-speech elements, for speaker identification. They need to you all use the same grammar and punctuation standards, which should not be ignored.
And then once you’ve developed those standards– and there are a lot of great resources out there for developing those, and I have those listed in the handout– you need to train the people who are doing the captioning in those standards so that you make sure that you end up with consistent and accurate high quality captions for all of your files.
The fourth tip here is to build accessibility into your workflow. So accessibility should never be a final consideration. A lot of the tips from the DIY section that I just went through apply here, particularly verbalizing descriptions, using a high quality microphone, and reading from a script.
And then you need to leave time for captioning and transcription. It takes five to six times real time to transcribe a file. And then in addition to that, you need to create the caption format and save time for a quality review. You should always be reviewing your transcripts to make sure that they are accurate and consistent.
And then finally, you need to test it. It’s great to test before you put anything out there. So test your process. Test your standards. Test your players. Test your formats. Test on different devices. And if you can fix those ahead of time, then you’re going to save time later.
And if you’re using a vendor, you still need to do a little bit of work. So you need to make sure that you’re getting the most out of it. You need to hold them to the same quality standards that you would have yourself because you are the ones that are implicated by the law, not the vendors.
So my best advice here is to talk to your vendors. They want to help you out. They have a lot of tools that you might not know about. See if any of them integrate with your media player. If you can automate the workflow, it’s going to be a lot easier for you moving forward.
Also talk to them about APIs. If you have a strong IT team, you can create a custom automated workflow using APIs that can make your process easier, faster, and really automated for your team. And then ask what extra tools they provide.
Do they have an editor so that if there are errors, you can fix them yourself really quickly? Do they allow you to upload cheat sheets so that they are aware of any specific terminology or names that are specific to your institution? Do they provide search tools? That kind of thing.
A lot of these places do. And it’s great to take advantage of them if you are using a vendor. And then remember that you’re at risk, not them. Make sure that there are ways to ensure quality, and just check with them. See what their standards are. See what their accuracy is. Test them on their accuracy. You should be getting the most out of your vendor.
And then my final tip is for captioning videos that you do not own. The first step here is to obviously try to obtain permission. If there is no response, then captioning is arguably fair use.
There are four parts of fair use. The first is whether or not the use of the work is transformative. So adding captions to a video makes it accessible and educational, which creates new meaning beyond the nature of the original work. And then the nature of the work– is it factual or is it fictional? Fictional work is more likely to be protected by copyright law, and for the most part, in education, the videos you would need to add captions to are for educational purposes and are almost always factual.
The next part of that is how much did you use, the amount and substantiality? This is something to be cautious of, but there are ways to add captions to YouTube videos without republishing the video. And so the amount and substantiality just doesn’t really correlate with the specific duration or percentage of the video that you’re using. So that one is something to be slightly cautious of. But if you’re not republishing the video, then you don’t need to worry about that as much.
And finally, the effect on the market value– the protection of intellectual property for financial gain is a big part of copyright law. But if you are embedding the YouTube video along with the captions, it won’t impact the market value because you’re going to be giving them a wider range of views and display ads on the video that they published themselves. And then finally, teaching and accessibility are exemplary fair use.
Section 107 of the American Copyright Law states that teaching is a purpose that is considered exempt from copyright infringement. And accessibility is cited as exemplary fair use in the legislative history of copyright law, where they’ve said the making of alternate format books for people who are blind or visually impaired as a free service for a blind person would properly be considered a fair use.
So when you’re considering captioning versus copyright, there is no case law for captions. But the quote that I just read from is case law for digitizing books for accessibility purposes. So it’s likely that the courts would err on the side of accessibility given the exemplary fair use of education. A possible caveat here is if you have to break DRM to caption the file. But the takeaway in general is to caption it, but always make sure that your legal counsel has your back. This is not legal advice. It is just a look at captioning, fair use, and copyright law.
And then how to caption videos you don’t own– so what you see on the screen here is a YouTube embed along with a captions embed. So this is not republishing the YouTube video. It is just embedding it. A captions plug-in is just a piece of HTML that you can add along with the video to make it accessible without taking away from any of the financial gain of the creator.
So what you see here is that the top part is just in blue, the iframe embed for the YouTube video along with a little bit of extra script for the captions plug-in. And then on the bottom, for the captions plug-in itself, the blue is the embed code for the plug-in, and the red is just the settings that will match the width of the YouTube video. So a lot of places will provide this, or a lot of players allow the functionality of the captions plug-in. And it’s just a good way to add captions without worrying about copyright law.
And so that is it for our tips. To review and put all of the 10 tips together, Janet went through five tips for administrators and policymakers, which were to know your legal requirements, set up an accessibility policy, get administrative buy-in, allocate budget and resources, and come up with a prioritization plan for your content. And then I went through five tips for content creators, which were to choose an accessible media player. If you don’t have an accessible media player, know the challenges and solutions for that player. Develop a manageable DIY process. Build accessibility into your workflow. And know how to caption videos you don’t own.
So with that, we’re going to go to Q&A. I know some people have been typing in their questions, but I want to encourage you to continue to do so as we go through the questions. We have about 15 minutes left for that.
The first question here is, what’s the difference between audio description and video description? Janet, is that something you want to answer? Or I’m happy to go over it, if you’d prefer.
JANET SYLVIA: Sure. The audio description is the verbal of the video description. So a video description is a text file of the key visual elements in the video. And you can create audio description of those visual elements.
It can be a separate track. And I know Lily could answer this well. It can be a separate track on a video track, or it can be a separate document.
LILY BOND: Thanks, Janet. Yeah, exactly. So the video text transcript would be a text element. And the audio description would be a separate audio track on the file.
Another question here– is audio description required by law? So WCAG 2.0 level AA does require audio description. Right now, the laws do not point to WCAG 2.0 unless your state or school’s specific laws do. But nationally, there is a refresh of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which is going to reference WCAG 2.0 level AA. So whenever that refresh does go through, if you are implicated by Section 508, then audio description would be a requirement.
Another question here, how does one know on YouTube whether their channel is using or rendering HTML5 video? So there is a setting in YouTube that you can update to use the HTML5 embed instead of the Flash embed. And you can also add a little bit of text to any embeds, I believe, after the video ID. You would type in ?html5=1, and that would use the HTML5 player instead of the Flash player. Janet, do you have any further insight on that?
JANET SYLVIA: Right. You can go to YouTube.com/html5 to determine if your web browser is currently using the default media player or the HTML5 player. And individuals can log into their account and go to their user preferences and choose to only use the HTML5 player, which would be accessible each time.
LILY BOND: Thanks, Janet. Another question here, can you talk a little bit about what kind of accommodations might be implemented for people with cognitive disabilities? And can you define what types of cognitive disabilities are covered here? Janet, you might be able to answer that one better than I.
JANET SYLVIA: Right. And accommodations will typically be customized for a specific individual. Cognitive disabilities can include Down syndrome, autism, dyslexia, traumatic brain injury. And so it’s a wide variety of disabilities. And people within the category of that disability might have different preferences. So an individual with dyslexia, where the text will jump off the page, and so visually reading text on a screen is difficult– it’s called the print disability– they would prefer audio description of what’s taking place or a text transcript that’s read aloud audibly to them.
Another individual with a cognitive disability, perhaps it’s memory loss or brain injury, it can be too disconcerting for the video, because it moves too quickly. They may also prefer text. Or on the other hand, they may prefer the video. So it depends on the individual. And so cognitive disabilities is a very wide, broad category compared to the visual and the hearing and the motor.
LILY BOND: Great. Thank you, Janet. Another question here, many educators and even departments at universities utilize social media as part of their learning process. Any tips on how to develop social media accessibility guidelines or any legal cases that have addressed that? Janet, you might be the best to answer developing the accessibility guidelines.
But in terms of utilizing social media, most social media platforms have accessibility built into them just in terms of general access to that social media platform. But in terms of the media itself that you are uploading, you would still need to follow the same tips. So if you are uploading a video to Facebook, you are going to also need to create a caption file for that if it is something that you’re sharing, that you’re using for course material. Janet, do you have anything to add to that?
JANET SYLVIA: Yes, there’s a great document. And Lily, I need to look it up and share the link with you. I don’t know if we could share it with the audience after the session, but there is a great document on social media accessibility specifically. I believe it’s through a US government agency. And it has great information about all different types of social media and what you can do to ensure accessibility of what you’re posting to social media. I don’t have the link off the top of my head, but I could provide that to you.
At this time, I’m not aware of any legal cases in higher education that specifically mention social media, although it does say wherever we post– and I guess it depends on how you define social media– wherever we post, for example, video, it follows the individual or the university employee wherever you post that content. And that’s part of the Harvard and MIT lawsuits, that it follows you as the employee. You need to make sure it’s accessible wherever you post it.
LILY BOND: Thanks, Janet. Someone just typed in that disability.gov just put out a toolkit for social media accessibility. I don’t know if that’s what you were thinking of.
JANET SYLVIA: Yes, it’s that toolkit. That’s exactly what I was thinking. Thank you.
LILY BOND: Great. Someone else is asking, are you required to obtain permission from the copyright holder in order to convert a video into digital media in order to add closed captioning? So I’ve hoped that the copyright versus captioning section clarified that a little bit, but you should always first attempt to obtain permission from the copyright holder. And only if you cannot, then you need to look at fair use and talk to your legal counsel, and determine whether or not you are comfortable going through that process. But again, a lot of captioning and copyright experts believe that captioning educational video is arguably fair use.
Another question, can we include the audio description in the text description and pass WCAG 2.0 level AA? Janet, do you want to clarify that?
JANET SYLVIA: Could you read the question? I’m not sure I quite understand. Audio description is an audio file. And the video description is a text file. So could you read the question again?
LILY BOND: Yeah. I believe that they’re asking whether or not instead of adding an audio description track, if you could include the video description in the text description and pass WCAG 2.0 level AA?
JANET SYLVIA: WCAG 2.0 says it could be text or audio file, but there is a separate success criteria specifically for the audio. I’m not familiar with ever having done that, so I couldn’t answer it. But it doesn’t seem like it would be. It doesn’t seem to me that it would pass.
LILY BOND: Great. Thanks, Janet. Another question here, does YouTube provide the ability to add an audio description track? Janet, do you want to answer that?
JANET SYLVIA: I’m not familiar with that. I’m not sure if you are, Lily.
LILY BOND: I’m fairly certain that they do not, but I will double check on that. Another question, re: copyright, if we are not publicly reposting the YouTube video, then it should be OK? For example, adding captioning to a video, and then private publishing and sending the link just to the student that needs it?
So I was referring specifically to embedding a YouTube video along with a captioning embed. If you are republishing the video privately and sending a link just to the student that needs it, that would certainly arguably be fair use. But again, always get legal counsel behind you before you decide to do that.
I think we have time for one or two more questions. Janet, this one I believe is for you. If an instructor chooses to record his face-to-face class, no one in the class has declared a disability or need, and posted the video to an LMS in case a student misses the class, do these live recorded sessions need to have transcripts, captions, and audio descriptions?
JANET SYLVIA: Yes. We’ve run into this question before. And I think there’s some different people answered this differently depending on their state laws and depending on other guidelines. So I think I would refrain from answering that. And it’d be best to check with maybe your Disability Resource Center, your state ADA coordinator to be sure what your state laws are.
LILY BOND: Great. Thank you, Janet. I think that’s about all that we have time for. Janet, thank you so much joining me on this presentation. It was great having you. And you always add some valuable insights on accessibility.
JANET SYLVIA: Thank you, Lily. It’s wonderful to be here today.
LILY BOND: And thank you, everyone, for joining us. I hope you have a great day.