Human Potential at Work Podcast Wrap-Up with Debra Ruh and Lily Bond
Human Potential at Work (HPAW) is a digital podcast hosted by Debra Ruh, an author, advocate, and CEO of Ruh Global Communications. HPAW focuses on how to bring out the potential in all people, including those with disabilities. Every episode shares new insights on how to foster a more inclusive society.
In the most recent episode, Debra sat down with 3Play’s very own, Lily Bond, Senior Director of Marketing at 3Play Media. They discuss the importance of video accessibility, the benefits of captioning from an accessibility and business perspective, and much more.
Whether you’re a seasoned vet in all things accessibility or new to the scene, everyone can take something from this episode. We highly recommend you check it out! But, if you need a quick recap, we’ve got you covered in this post.
The Need for Video in a Remote World
Accessibility advocates have been championing accessible online video since it came to be.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s become increasingly clear how important accessibility is since most in-person activities are now conducted remotely online. Now more than ever, we’re using video platforms like Zoom or Google Hangouts to participate in work meetings, fitness trainings, or even to catch up with friends and family. There are so many platforms available, but unfortunately, not all of them are accessible.
The lack of captioned video content continues to be a major problem in the online video space. Although captions are an accommodation for d/Deaf and hard of hearing people, most people who use them aren’t. A study by the Office of Communications (Ofcom) found that 80% of people who watch videos with closed captions aren’t d/Deaf or hard of hearing, as opposed to the 20% of viewers who use captions with hearing loss.
Many users of captions watch videos in sound-sensitive environments and may not have access to headphones.
Most videos online even autoplay without sound because users prefer to opt in to sound. Facebook published a research report showing that 80% of users react negatively to videos that autoplay with sound. That means if someone is scrolling through their newsfeed and comes across a video without sound or captions, it becomes completely incomprehensible to them, leaving them no choice but to scroll to a more accessible video.
Video Accessibility = Web Accessibility
Some people use a variety of tools to make their websites accessible, but what about video?
If your video and audio aren’t accessible, then your website isn’t accessible.
Many automated accessibility testing tools don’t check for accessible videos. Even if you pass with flying colors without accessibility features like captions, you’re still liable to make your video content accessible.
The truth of the matter is that video accessibility is more than just a “nice to have”. It’s a must-have. Captioning should never be an afterthought. It’s a critical accommodation for viewers who are d/Deaf and hard of hearing, and without them, you exclude millions of people.
Research has shown that video accessibility benefits more than just people with disabilities. It helps people who have different learning styles, multitaskers, aids in focus and comprehension, and so much more.
So Captions Are Great, but Why Aren’t More People Doing It?
There are some who don’t have any awareness of video accessibility and how it’s going to impact their business.
Captions have been shown to have a positive return on investment for many businesses including an increase in reach, better brand awareness, and a boost in search engine optimization (SEO).
Legal Requirements for Video Accessibility
Captions are legally required by law in the United States and in many other countries as well. In the U.S. specifically, captions are written into major accessibility laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA).
Many businesses and organizations have been sued for failing to provide captions with their video content. Even if you don’t have a video accessibility plan in place yet, it’s important to show that you have a plan. Ask yourself, “how will we show how we’re choosing to implement a plan?” If you can’t do everything immediately, start with the videos that you’re publishing on an on-going basis. As for backlogged videos, start with the ones that are the most viewed and the most consistently viewed.
As a brand, it’s imperative to show viewers that you care – even if you’re not exactly where you need or want to be.
As for the court system, they want to see progress. Be transparent and make your plans and progress clear on your website.
DIY vs. Vendor
Many people, in hopes of saving money, attempt to create captions themselves. However, it’s not always worth taking the easy way out.
It’s not enough to simply have captions; they must be intelligible and accurate as well.
Captions are very hard to create on your own because the process can be complex like figuring out technical specs, time codes, file formats, etc.
They also take up a lot of time. It can take 5-6 times the length of your video to transcribe and caption a video. Therefore, if your video is an hour-long, be prepared to take 5-6 hours to transcribe it. But it doesn’t end there. You also have to ensure that you’re following guidelines for captioning quality, like adding speaker IDs, time codes, and non-speech elements.
What may be thought of as a money-saving option, DIY captions are actually surprisingly expensive. Everyone knows that time is money. Even if you’re doing it in-house, you’re still spending money to pay staff to do it. When you create a ton of video, as many brands do, this process is very inefficient.
The great thing about using a vendor is that it’s their job to make your videos accessible. You can send your file off to the vendor and spend your time creating great content!
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