Everything You Need to Know About ACCESS 2019!

October 8, 2019 BY SAMANTHA SAULD

the exchange conference center

On Thursday, October 3rd, 2019, we hosted our 6th ACCESS by 3Play Media conference. Since 2017, we’ve hosted ACCESS conferences across the United States – from Washington D.C. and New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

This year’s conference was extra special since it took place in our very own neighborhood, the Boston Seaport! Attendees and speakers gathered from near and far to attend this year’s event at The Exchange Conference Center, located on Boston’s historic waterfront. 

For those who may not know, ACCESS is a conference for the accessibility enthusiast. Whether you’re experienced in digital accessibility or you’re new to the game, this conference is meant to empower, motivate, and prepare attendees to create a more accessible world. 

In this post, we’ll discuss the highlights of this year’s ACCESS and include some key takeaways you can bring to your organization.  

The Sessions

Josh Miller, CEO and co-founder of 3Play Media, set the stage and opened the event with an overview on the importance of video accessibility. He shared stats on the rise of online video and the number of people affected if video is inaccessible. 

Over 795 million people with hearing loss, vision loss, or a motor disability  84% of the world’s internet traffic will be video by 2020 50% of people agree captions are important and usually watch videos with sound off on mobile and desktop

As online video continues to increase in popularity, it’s imperative that video producers ensure they’re accessible to all individuals, because accessibility benefits everyone. 

Navigating Accessibility Laws

We were incredibly excited to have Lainey Feingold as a speaker at this year’s ACCESS. Lainey is an internationally recognized disability rights lawyer and pioneer of Structured Negotiation. She works primarily with the blind community and accessible information and technology and negotiates landmark cases. 

“The law isn’t there to be a checklist, a hammer, a punishment. The law is there because accessibility is a civil right.”

Lainey spoke about the rise of web accessibility lawsuits in recent years. In 2018 alone, 2,285 lawsuits were filed. One important takeaway from Lainey’s presentation is that accessibility is a civil right and everyone, regardless of ability, should have access to the same information and technology. 

Using Accessible Video to Improve Comprehension

Another great session of the day was conducted by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg’s (USFSP) very own, Karla Morris and Casey Frechette. 

They dove into findings from a study on how captions and interactive transcripts improve students’ ability to retain and comprehend information. 

Closed captions increased students’ test scores by 3%  Interactive transcripts improved students’ test scores by 8%

 The full report of the study will be released this month with conclusive findings. Stay tuned!

Fireside Chat

Last, but certainly not least, the final session was a fireside chat with actor CJ Jones. Moderated by our Director of Marketing, Lily Bond, CJ candidly and humorously answered questions regarding his career as a deaf actor, the importance of inclusion in Hollywood, and revealed some of his future endeavors. 

People are used to a very medical view of deafness as opposed to looking at my abilities, my intelligence, my mind…and how I empower others to inspire other people. That’s what it’s all about.CJ Jones

The Workshops

Roadmap at 3Play

icon of a computer monitor

Once cool aspect of this year’s ACCESS was having both sessions and workshops going on simultaneously. Track A was all about accessibility with 3Play Media. This track was geared toward 3Play customers and non-3Play customers who wanted to do a deep dive on 3Play’s services and features. 

One popular workshop was called, “What’s on the Roadmap at 3Play”. It was all about 3Play’s product releases over the course of the year. 

We released a ton of new features in 2019, including an update to our Account System, Clipmaker, and Spanish audio description. 

Our Account System update was all about improving the user experience. We set off on a quest for a more user-friendly, accessible, and modern look. Some of these features include:

  • Thumbnail images: easily identify source media files
  • Status icons: track real-time completion status of each service ordered 
  • Search bar: quickly find certain file formats 

We also discussed some features to look forward to in the near future. One thing we’ll be rolling out soon is live automatic captioning. This will allow 3Play customers to easily schedule 3Play captions for live streaming events.

What to Know About ASR

Track B workshops were all about online accessibility. From designing accessible websites to creating an accessible user experience, these workshops focused on equipping attendees with the tools to become skilled in online accessibility. 

In one workshop entitled “What to Know About ASR”, attendees learned about the current state of automatic speech recognition, or ASR, technology. The application of AI in the captioning industry still needs improvement. Even the best automatic captions have much room for improved accuracy. This means that there will need to be some very fundamental advances in machine learning in order to replicate human editors. 

That’s a Wrap!

We ended the event with a happy hour at the Exchange. It was a great opportunity for attendees to share what they learned throughout the day and exchange ideas over delicious space-themed drinks. 

We’d like to thank all of our speakers and attendees for participating in 2019’s ACCESS by 3Play conference! We hope everyone had a blast and learned something new. 

A special thanks to our sponsors 3 Media Web and T-Base for making this event possible! 


Continue the journey! Learn more about accessibility with 3Play Media’s Certification Course!

Register for 3Play Media's Certification Course! An online certification course designed to make you an a11y leader by mastering the fundamentals of video accessibility.

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