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How To Centralize Video Accessibility Efforts in Your Organization [TRANSCRIPT]

CASEY PEARSON: Thank you for joining us today for the presentation How To Centralize Video Accessibility Efforts at Your Organization. I’m Casey Pearson from 3Play Media, and I’ll be moderating today. I am a young, fair-skinned woman with long, light brown hair, and I’m wearing a black shirt. And with that, I’ll hand it off to Elisa Lewis and Brigid Ling, who have a wonderful presentation prepared for you all.

BRIGID LING: Thank you, Casey. And a warm hello to all of our attendees today. We’re looking forward to this conversation.

My name is Brigid Ling. I am the director of marketing for Captionmax. I am a fair-skinned woman with long, brown hair wearing a white shirt. And I am seated in a home office.

ELISA LEWIS: Great. Thank you so much, Casey and Brigid. Hi, everyone. My name is Elisa Lewis. I’m the senior inbound marketing manager at 3Play Media, where I lead content strategy and host our Allied podcast.

I’m a fair-skinned woman with medium length, dark brown hair, and I’m wearing a blue shirt that says 3Play Media. And I’m excited to be presenting alongside Brigid this afternoon.

So we have a lot of content to get through today. So I’m going to kind of walk us through our agenda and then we’ll hop right in. We’re going to start out answering a few questions today.

First, we’ll answer the question what is video accessibility? We’ll talk about what video accessibility and what centralizing video accessibility means at your organization. Then we’ll share some of the steps that you can take to achieve centralization, or at least work toward achieving centralization.

Of course, there are some common challenges that we see with working towards centralization. So we’ll share those and some of the ways that you can overcome those challenges. We’ll pair that with a few examples of organizations that we’ve seen doing centralization well and successfully. And lastly, we’ll leave time at the end to answer any questions that you may have.

So like I said, our topic for today is around centralizing video accessibility. So I wanted to start out first by discussing what video accessibility means and offering a bit of a definition so that we’re kind of aligned and can go into this conversation really understanding what we’re talking about. So in order to understand video accessibility, we’ve looked at a few different definitions around accessibility.

Accessibility is the quality of being able to be reached or entered. And when we’re thinking about what this means in a digital world or in the video world, we want to use the definition that video accessibility refers to the process of removing barriers that prevent interaction with or equal access to audio-visual video content by any person who is deaf, hard of hearing, blind, low vision, neurodivergent, or disabled. Typically, this is through the use of accessibility tools and technologies.

Now, I think it’s worth noting a few things about this definition. One is that this definition is around individuals with a disability. However, video accessibility does have huge benefits and impacts for all viewers. Accessible video, and accessibility in general, has also continued to gain popularity and acceptance and understanding in recent years with individuals who do not identify as having a disability.

So the next sort of definition that I want to align on is centralized video accessibility. So what does this really mean? I think it’s important that we are going into this definition, again, kind of understanding that it’s a very broad definition.

Here, for the purpose of this webinar and for our conversation today, we’re going to be thinking about centralized video accessibility as all video accessibility needs, from live and recorded captioning to audio description, from transcription to localization, going through one central department within an organization.

Now, again, this is a pretty broad definition. So I want everyone to kind of take a moment to think about what pieces of it resonate with you. And remember that you can kind of adapt it to fit your needs and your organization’s needs.

So that’s a little bit of background, again, for us to kind of feel aligned and like we’re in a good place to continue this conversation today and kind of get into the strategy and the steps piece of centralizing video accessibility. So now that you kind of know what we’re talking about, everyone’s on the same page, why should you even be centralizing your video accessibility?

There are a number of reasons and a number of benefits that we see time and time again. The first is efficiency. Centralizing your video accessibility needs helps to identify and to look at your organization’s accessibility holistically and to see the full picture.

From here, you can really better identify different needs, and you can identify where things can be improved upon, how you can do things better, what things maybe don’t need to be prioritized, and you can really streamline and hone in on that process.

Having this information is also really useful for any accessibility partners or vendors that you may be working with, as it can really help them to better understand your needs and more proactively support what your organization is prioritizing. It also helps to ensure consistency and compliance.

Organizations can feel really confident that every piece of video or media content that’s produced is going through the same process. No matter if it’s something coming from the IT department or it’s coming from the finance department, whatever it is, it’s all going through a centralized, consistent process. And you can be confident that it’s going to comply with your organization standards and any legal standards that you’re trying to achieve.

It also makes accessibility testing and measurement much more manageable. With centralization, you can really, again, have confidence that everything’s going through one process. You can measure the success and the accessibility of all of your content and really identify where you need to make improvements to this process.

When you have a uniform system and you have procedures in place, it’s much easier to identify those and make sure that any changes you’re making are thought about in a way that’s going to be sustainable and scalable.

Centralizing your video accessibility efforts also saves your organization time and resources. It prevents you from having to sort of go back and redo things, add accessibility in at a later date, maybe change products or projects. It can save the headache of having multiple people sort of reinventing the wheel in different departments because they’re working siloed.

You can kind of pool the resources and make sure that– maybe someone’s doing something one way in, again, the finance department, or the IT department, or the production department. And you can kind of pull all your heads together to make sure that you’re not reinventing the wheel, but maybe learning from each other, making sure that everything’s going through this consistent process, and that you’re baking accessibility in from the very beginning.

And, lastly, it’s a really important way to increase buy-in and budget. Having this centralized process helps you have a bigger-picture understanding and have better oversight of where you’re spending, what you need. And you can really kind of make a better case for those who you do need to gain buy-in from or those who you need financial commitment from. And it’ll all be kind of wrapped up and packaged in one really nice offering and one very streamlined ask.

So like I said, a lot of people are here today to learn. A lot of you don’t have a centralized accessibility process in your organization. So we’re moving into steps now. First, I want to just give a quick rundown of the steps that we’ll be talking through.

First, you really need to build a foundation. Everybody needs to start somewhere. And, again, throughout this presentation, I want you to take what resonates with you. And your foundation may look different from someone else’s foundation.

But first, we’re going to start building that process. And then it’s important to really understand what media and video creation looks like within your organization. It’s important to understand where things are currently, including auditing your previous and existing content and processes.

We want to get everyone to a point, and we encourage everyone to get to a point, where video accessibility, or accessibility in general, is thought at at the very beginning of the process. But we realize that that may not have been the case for previous content. So we don’t want to leave that out of this process moving forward. And then we’re going to talk about designing new video content, like I said, with accessibility in mind from the very beginning.

So the first step, like I said, is building a foundation. And I know I’ve repeated this several times. But accessibility really takes time. It looks different at every organization. And it does take time.

So a good place to start when you’re building a foundation is making sure that you hire or train an accessibility expert. This expert is going to be someone who will take the ownership of media accessibility initiatives and is going to be a key part of ensuring that your message reaches every person within the organization.

So when I say hire or train an accessibility expert, this also can look like, if you don’t have a dedicated accessibility role, this can be a task force. This can be a committee. But having someone who is really going to own and be responsible for accessibility within your organization.

The next piece of building a foundation is creating a video accessibility policy. It’s important to have this documented and to have internal buy-in from everybody on this committee and everybody across the organization so that there are clear standards and clear goals to work towards. So the policy should explain why video accessibility matters at your organization. It should define who must adhere to the policy.

It should explain the level of compliance that creators must meet. It should provide accessibility specs for any content creators involved in the process. And it should outline which services are required, any stylistic requirements, and deliverable file types.

And then possibly the most important part of this foundation is communicating that commitment to accessibility. It’s great if you have the task force or the accessibility expert. It’s great if you have the policy. But, again, this is where the buy-in comes in. You need to communicate this commitment and get everybody across the organization on board.

So that can look like distributing the policy to all employees within your organization and ensuring, first and foremost, that everybody has access to this policy. Striving to get that commitment from all of your employees. Yes, you want them to have the information. But you really want that commitment from them as well.

You can even build some excitement around this by kicking off this commitment and the committee with maybe an event, kind of getting everybody all in the same place and excited about it. And that commitment should really be expressed to other stakeholders as well, including not just internally, but to your customers, your investors, your partners, and so on.

And I want to share an example of an organization that has really built this foundation well. So some of you may have been on our webinar from quite a while ago at this point, where we talked with Capital One about how they built accessibility into their organization. Capital One is an organization that has, nowadays, a really robust accessibility team.

But they started out incredibly decentralized. They started out where there were sort of pockets and groups of people across their different geographies and business organizations doing things really differently. There was no sort of– there was no unity around accessibility.

A lot of people, when they thought about accessibility, they thought, oh, well, that has to do with physical access. And, yeah, the building has a wheelchair ramp. But they didn’t really know what it meant in terms of their products, their services, digital and video accessibility. So they started the same way.

They created an accessibility team that started out as one person. It then grew to a dozen people. But it started out as one person. They went through these same processes of really getting that buy-in, creating excitement, trying to achieve empathy and understanding of what accessibility really means and why it’s important. And, today, they now have the digital accessibility team at Capital One.

Like I said, it started out as one individual. And it grew to a team that is inclusive of software engineers, people who have development experience. It includes individuals with various disabilities, and so on. And that team is responsible for all digital accessibility at Capital One from the card business, the bank business, their financial services business, investing business, so their operations. And that’s throughout the US, as well in the UK and Canada.

So that all falls under this one team’s responsibility. And I encourage you to take a look at that webinar. And we can share it out as well.

They described it as an uphill battle. It wasn’t easy. But they started with this foundation that we’re describing for you today and followed the steps that we’ll talk about next. And they had very much success. So with that, I’m going to hand it back to Brigid, who will walk you through the next few steps.

BRIGID LING: Thanks, Elisa. So the next step in this centralization process is really understanding your media creation culture. So what does the flow for content creation look like in your organization? Can you evolve it so that you can integrate accessibility services in the workflow? Do you have time to add accessibility services, and how can you adjust your deadlines and your workflow to allow for more time?

And like we’ve been talking about, who can take ownership of these initiatives? We’re going to talk about that one in greater detail here in just a couple of minutes. And then next, ensuring visibility into video production, so the who, where, and when. Who will have responsibility, and do they have visibility into the upcoming projects within your organization?

For instance, is there a full creative production that’s on the schedule, or is there something simple like an internal recording or meeting? Making sure that the team responsible has visibility into any upcoming project, whether it’s a big project or a small meeting, is really important, and that the team responsible really understands production timelines so that they know when it is appropriate to engage accessibility services and have it added.

And then communication and ownership. Having the correct team members in place throughout every step of the process really helps streamline the organization workflow. So, again, it’s about visibility and engagement.

And then the next step, step three, auditing your previous content. How many organizations here today have libraries of content that do not have any accessibility services as part of that library, no captions, no transcripts, no audio description? It would be a great first step to analyze what you currently have.

And start with the most highly used and highly relevant content and work from there, adding in those captions, transcripts, and audio description, starting with that most used content. And then prioritize your library from there. Decide what you’re going to add next. Also, look at including translation, localization.

And a good starting goal is to aim for a minimum level of conformance to WCAG 2.0. WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. And these are a set of technical guidelines that ensure your website and its content is accessible to people with disabilities. Level A compliance of WCAG is the minimum level of conformance.

And these guidelines state that recorded content with audio must have closed captions and also must have video description or a text video description that is accessible via screen reader technology. So aiming to comply with the WCAG 2.0 at least Level A– more and more organizations striving for AA as well– is a great place to start.

And then step four, create a video accessibility workflow that starts in production and extends all the way through to promotion. And now, we’re really looking at the future of your media creation. So create a process that spans all departments that touch media and content creation that your organization can follow. Have a process that is followable by everybody and that is clearly outlined in your video accessibility policy.

When you’re designing new content, you want to design that content with accessibility in mind. So create a set of best practice standards for your organization that all of your content creators and your editors can follow to support that high-quality accessibility services being added. Here are a couple of examples.

Small tweaks to pacing or on-screen graphics and product demos make a big difference. For instance, don’t rush your speech in a video, and add pauses. This can better support caption timing and the addition of audio description.

Another example would be not placing any graphics in the lower thirds of your screen. Keep that space open and clear for captions at all times. So if you need to add an introduction to a speaker or any thought bubbles, make sure they’re not done in the lower thirds of the screen so that that space is always clear for captions.

Next, you want to optimize your workflow by planning ahead. You want to plan your workflow around accessibility so that you make sure you have all of the steps in place and the time allocated to provide it. It’s also important that you have the tools in place to provide those captions, and transcripts, and audio descriptions on the video itself.

For instance, is your video player accessible? If your video is accessible, but the website it lives on isn’t, that should be addressed at this point as well. And then adding accessibility services at the last minute or right up at the airing deadline is a great way to cause a lot of production costs, a lot of stress. And so I would encourage you to make sure that you’ve planned it into your workflow well in advance.

And then, lastly, these services can be done in-house if your organization has the capabilities. They can also be outsourced to professionals. So you can give your content creators access to an accessibility partner, or you can do them in-house if you have a department that can take that on.

Factors to consider here are budget and time. Organizations who have not budgeted for captions may opt to have them done in-house. It can be time-consuming, especially if there’s no experience in this process before. So many organizations choose to outsource their accessibility services to professionals just to improve quality and save time.

Now, we see three main challenges in centralizing video accessibility services, limited budget, lack of clear ownership, and resistance to change. So let’s take a look at each of these. The first one is furthering your budget. So one idea is to pool your resources. Centralization can allow different departments to pool their budgets to create a larger fund for these services.

Another way to further your budget, and we see this a lot in higher education space, is through the use of grants and funding. You can create a captioning grant from student fees, for instance. NC State does this. They fund their captioning efforts by adding a small fee to the students’ tuition. And this fee provides a benefit for all the students, as 98% of students report that they find captioning to be beneficial and helpful.

Students realize that captions help clarify spoken content and complicated information. They’re helpful for students who are learning a new language. They also help with retention of information. So a good case for grants and funding, especially in the higher education space.

Be creative. Maybe you have leftover funds at the end of a fiscal year and you can put them in your prepaid accessibility captioning account as a credit for the next year, or see if you can use your services budget for captioning services.

Lastly, utilizing bulk discounts is a great way to further your budget. A lot of vendors will offer discounted pricing by volume. So if you use a single vendor for your accessibility services, you’ll be able to save money in the long run by taking advantage of that bulk discounted pricing.

And the next challenge to centralizing content and services in organizations is establishing clear ownership. Sometimes, an organization is able to hire an accessibility expert. And they will be the owner of that process.

But if that’s not in your organization’s budget, it is important that clear ownership is determined right out of the gates. So, generally, the accessibility team or committee consists of multiple different departments and people. And it really pulls a team together so that visibility and input is really present on this committee.

And then next, driving accessibility awareness and buy-in at all levels of the organization. This is a great outcome of this accessibility team or committee. This team, ideally, because it pulls different departments together, can really raise the awareness of the accessibility efforts that your organization is implementing and increases the buy-in at all levels of the organization.

And then working closely with the company stakeholders to make sure that the accessibility standards are followed. And so the role of this team really gets out into the different departments to integrate and make sure that all the stakeholders have visibility into the processes and that the video accessibility policy is followed.

And then lastly, you want to have this team really be involved in all aspects of the project or product development phase. Again, it’s really baking in accessibility practices, designing your content to really include accessibility practices from planning all the way through execution.

So how do you encourage change in your organization? There’s four main ways that we see this happen. The first way is through identifying the benefits of accessibility for your brand and for your sales.

A few things to keep in mind here. Companies now, more than ever, are prioritizing their DEI efforts to encompass accessibility and ensure that everyone has access to the same information throughout your organization. And having accessible content really does allow more people to have positive experiences with your brand.

And then this, in turn, creates more enthusiastic brand loyalty and more brand advocates. And there’s a very practical implication that accessible content also improves your SEO. So all of these are good for the brand and for your sales.

Next is educate your employees. It is very important that leaders in the organization and all members of your accessibility team create awareness, understanding, and empathy around accessibility. Use data as a tool for advocacy and proactively have resources available for your employees to use.

Next are the legal requirements and repercussions. We talked a little bit about WCAG 2.0. But current legislation is really focused on furthering accessibility across all industries, because more and more organizations are working towards that compliance. And then additionally, case law and precedent are helping to bring some of the outdated legislation up to speed with today’s technology.

And then lastly, have a plan. Create short-term goals and long-term goals with actionable steps so that your employees see the changes and feel the benefits from them. And then when you achieve those changes and successes along the way, share with your organization how they’re working. You should feel good about the plan that you’re implementing. And I will kick it back over to Elisa to talk about how this process does take time.

ELISA LEWIS: Thank you, Brigid. So we covered a lot here. And I think it is really important to reiterate that centralization does take time. The production of videos and digital assets won’t stop anytime soon for most organizations. We live in an increasingly digital world. We consume a lot of content, whether it’s for enjoyment, whether it’s for work and business, learning, whatever it is.

So centralization is incredibly important. But like I said, we recognize that it does take time. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. And it won’t happen in a day. So we hope that some of the steps that we’ve talked through can really help you build that process and that foundation to get there and can really guide you in the right direction.

We encourage you to aim high when you’re thinking about centralization and accessibility in general. Celebrate the small achievements along the way when it comes to centralization. We mentioned in some of the examples and in the Capital One example, everybody– you can start small and grow and continue to build, and build, and build on those blocks until you’re in a place where you feel like you are really centralized. But it’s OK to do it one step at a time.

If you follow the steps that we’ve talked about today, you will have a streamlined process, or a more streamlined process, that will integrate accessibility services right from the start. This will help make your content more inclusive. It will help it reach a broader audience. And you will definitely prevent accessibility from becoming an afterthought, which as we mentioned can be time-consuming and can end up being expensive.

So we wanted to wrap up with some themes that we’ve seen from organizations that have centralized and have done centralization well. In working with these organizations and hearing from different companies, we’ve been able to identify four different themes that we want to share with you. So the first is having that dedicated accessibility role or a team within the organization. This is something that we see across every organization that is doing or has achieved centralization.

We feel that yes, like we said, the accessibility role is great. But it’s important, if you don’t have that role and you don’t have that in the budget, to still stick together and build a task force or a team that encompasses many different individuals. No matter what your organization looks like, the individuals on the team or on the committee may vary, but it’s still important to have this dedicated team or force that knows that this is their responsibility.

Again, utilizing a single vendor, or sometimes, a few vendors, is really helpful for your vendor to understand and be able to help you and be that accessibility partner. It’s also helpful, like we mentioned, from a budgeting perspective, taking advantage of bulk discounts. But really, it’s helpful to have that accessibility partner in this process.

Another thing that all of these organizations have in common is a consistent commitment to designing all content around accessibility. So every piece of content, whether it’s internal, whether it’s external, whether it’s going to your customer, whether it’s a really short video clip or it’s a larger event, it all has to be accessible. This commitment, this kind of buy-in from everybody in the organization, all of the stakeholders, all of the partners, is critical to moving forward with a highly centralized accessibility process.

And, lastly, understanding the broader benefits of implementing accessibility. Like we talked about at the beginning, yes, when we think about accessibility, we primarily think about individuals with disabilities. The organizations that are achieving centralization are those that really understand that accessibility goes beyond individuals with disabilities.

Accessibility has huge benefits for everyone. We pointed out some of those throughout. In the education space, it’s very helpful for learners. But it has huge benefits for everyone. One thing that we like to bring up is the curb cut effect, if anyone is familiar with that. It’s something individuals come across every day. I live in the city.

When I’m walking pretty much anywhere, I don’t even think about the curb cut. But it’s something that was initially meant for wheelchair users and is useful for me and other individuals every day, whether you’re rolling a stroller, or a suitcase, a grocery cart. So these are things that we intend to help those with disabilities, but really have a huge range of benefits.

So no matter what centralization does look like at these organizations– and, again, they vary depending on the size or the budget– these are four things that every organization that is doing centralization well, really, these four things are what they have in common. So with that, we will move into questions.

CASEY PEARSON: Wonderful. Thank you, Brigid and Elisa, for that fantastic presentation. I do have some questions. So we’ll dive right in. Firstly, someone asked, for this presentation, are you speaking about real-time captioning for live events or captioning for pre-recorded videos?

BRIGID LING: We’re really referring to both. Accessibility services really should be planned for and workflow incorporated for both live and pre-recorded. So library content that you may be pulling from past uses, whether it’s employee training or marketing videos, or for your live corporate events or your live Zoom meetings, it’s really important that accessibility gets worked into both live and recorded content.

CASEY PEARSON: Wonderful. Can you expand more on the laws around video accessibility? I know we kind of touched on them earlier, but maybe specifically what those are, high-level.

ELISA LEWIS: Sure. I’ll start with– there are a lot of anti-discrimination laws and things like that that are quite– they’re a bit older at this point. And so the language that’s used doesn’t explicitly call out video accessibility. However, there has been a lot of legal action. We’ve seen precedents set and can kind of refer to case law to really understand how these apply to video accessibility.

So it’s hard to give exact requirements. Certainly, there’s vague language in things like the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act that mention equal access or mention the use of auxiliary aids. All of these can be kind of assumed. And, again, we’ve seen this in case law, that those indicate a need for captioning and audio description.

WCAG, which Brigid mentioned, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, those are the international standard for accessibility. And in WCAG, there are requirements, those kind of levels that she mentioned, Level A, Level AA, and Level AAA. There are requirements specifically that do mention things like captioning and audio description.

And, again, some of these laws now kind of reference WCAG. A lot of lawsuits reference WCAG. So we definitely can send out a link there. But WCAG is going to be where you’ll see those more explicit requirements for captioning, audio description, and things like that.

CASEY PEARSON: Great. And building off of that, there’s another question. Are there different guidelines we should follow if our company also works in Canada?

BRIGID LING: Yes, Canadian accessibility really follows the AODA, which is Canadian law requiring organizations over 50 employees to adhere to that WCAG 2.0 standard. So that’s specifically out of Ontario. But more and more Canadian organizations are adhering to those guidelines as well.

CASEY PEARSON: Great. The next question is, do you have other case studies of accessibility grants and funding for a non-student and non-banking context? In my field, arts nonprofit, it can be a real struggle to secure funding, let alone write convincing grant proposals to justify captioning expenditures on both operations budgets and one-off budget proposals.

BRIGID LING: That is a great question. And we know that is a very real struggle. I would have to think about other examples. And maybe we could follow up with this particular person afterwards.

I’m aware of Department of Education grants. But this person is looking for something outside of education, more in the arts field. I would like to look into that and see if we can reply to that person individually. Elisa, do you know of anything?

ELISA LEWIS: Not off the top of my head. But I’m sure there’s something out there. We can definitely follow up in the arts or nonprofit sector. But a great question. Thank you for bringing that up.

BRIGID LING: Yeah, really appreciate that.

CASEY PEARSON: And, similarly, if my organization doesn’t have the budget or buy-in to hire an accessibility position, do you have recommendations on how to incentivize individuals to join an accessibility team?

BRIGID LING: We are finding buy-in is enthusiastic in these organizations, that people are really eager to jump onto these committees or accessibility teams within organizations. If your organization is struggling, I think going back to the reference that Elisa gave on the curb cut effect, that there are people within your organization that will very directly benefit from these accessibility enhancements within your organization. And then you will too.

And so that usually is an entry point for those who are hesitant to jump on board and really put their time in and invest. But we really are seeing– enthusiastic buy-in is the norm, would you say, Elisa?

ELISA LEWIS: Yeah, I think– the other thing that I would add there is– and I know we mentioned this briefly. But I think a lot of organizations are kind of rolling accessibility in with their diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. And I think that’s something that is incredibly important, and also something that we’re seeing a lot of people get really excited about and really passionate about. I think it goes back to, like Brigid said, realizing that this is not for a small group of people. This benefits everyone.

But it also has significant impacts on the business, on sales, on the brand image. People are more and more, like, really pushing for organizations to take a stance on things that are important. And people are really interested in supporting brands that have similar values to them and are not afraid to use their platform to voice those values.

So by really having this accessibility at the forefront and having a dedicated committee or team around accessibility, that’s something that is just not going to help internally. But, also, like I said, it really does show something about your brand. We had created a video that kind of talks about the curb cut effect and some other examples of how universal accessibility is.

So I’ll pop that in the chat for anyone that’s kind of interested or wants to pass it along internally. It’s about a one-minute video, but it really does show some of these tools that we use every day and how they actually help us live in a more accessible world.

BRIGID LING: And on that note, there was a study that Accenture did in 2018 around companies that added accessibility standards and practices within their business. And everything improved, from profitability to employee retention. It was just an overwhelming positive. And so I think it’s really looking at it holistically.

CASEY PEARSON: Thank you. So I’m going to combine two questions here, because I think they go a little hand in hand. The first is, are there service providers you can recommend to organizations looking to outsource some of this work aside from 3Play Media? And the second is, what are some qualities that we should look for when assessing accessibility service providers?

BRIGID LING: I would first start by saying that 3Play Media now, with the combination of Captionmax and National Caption Canada, offers comprehensive accessibility services. But we’d be happy to make recommendations if there’s something that we can’t help with. Was the second part of that question around next steps?

CASEY PEARSON: More centered around, what are key qualities that would be helpful when assessing–

BRIGID LING: OK. That’s right. Quality, responsiveness, commitment to service– those are all things you should be evaluating. What are the quality of captions provided, the partners that they work with or other companies that they work with that can really be reference points for your organization, and customer service?

Technology and innovation– so how can the caption files be delivered to your organization in a timely and efficient manner? All of those are really important. Elisa, what am I not touching on?

ELISA LEWIS: I think those are great. I also wanted to share a resource that we have that kind of walks through the 10 crucial questions to ask when you’re selecting a captioning vendor. But, certainly, it’s important not just to understand what they say their accuracy is, but also understand their process.

That gives you some insight into how they’re getting their quality. And also, that may give you insight into price. If their price sounds too good to be true, it may be.

So I think certainly asking questions. Can you see examples? Other companies or customers that use them. How they compare to their competitors. And certainly asking questions around the processes and their understanding of what other accessibility initiatives or services do they offer or do they have? Are they going to be a true partner for you in your accessibility needs?

CASEY PEARSON: Wonderful. And I appreciate everybody dropping further resources in the chat. We love to see that. And Sarah provided a really good point as well, saying, I think some companies assume implementing accessibility will slow things down when it can actually help individuals optimize individual work, leading to systematic improvement.

And that’s a really good point to make. And I’m glad she provided that context. Do you have any tips for testing for accessibility to see where it can be improved? And then someone else also asked– again, and it combined– do you do quality assurance testing on existing captioned videos?

BRIGID LING: Elisa, do you want to take the first stab at that one while I drop one of these resources in the chat?

ELISA LEWIS: Yeah, I was just dropping in the chat. Could you repeat the first part of that question, Casey, if you don’t mind?

CASEY PEARSON: Yeah, so do you have any tips for testing for accessibility to see where there can be improvement? And then building off of that, do you do, or maybe even should you do, quality assurance testing on existing captioned videos?

ELISA LEWIS: Yeah, I think it’s a really interesting question. As far as resources for accuracy, I think doing some of your own testing and comparing. Typically, if we’re kind of continuing the conversation on how you evaluate different vendors, I think asking for a test. Can you have them test the same video and do your own evaluation at the end?

I think as far as broader accessibility testing, this isn’t something that we offer. But there are a number of organizations that can help with this. The biggest thing to keep in mind here is when you’re testing for accessibility, making sure that you have individuals who are disabled and who are native users of whatever technology you’re testing as part of that process.

And I just also [INAUDIBLE] because it’s a thing that unfortunately happened sometimes in the accessibility world, is that people are asked to test and are not paid for their time. Anyone who is doing accessibility testing, including individuals with disabilities, should certainly be paid for their time and for their efforts in helping to evaluate those tools and accessibility. But other than that, I really don’t have a specific tool or much guidance, as we don’t [INAUDIBLE] testing ourselves.

CASEY PEARSON: And, again, building off of that, someone asks captions, I understand, have different accuracy rates. What should we need to have in order to be legally compliant?

ELISA LEWIS: That’s a great question. It’s a little bit of a tricky one. There are not specific accuracy requirements in the laws, for example. The DCMP, Described and Captioned Media Program, has some really great resources on caption quality.

There are different ways to evaluate this, whether it’s pre-recorded or live or things like that. There are some industry standards around quality. And again, kind of referring back to a lot of, when we talk about what’s required or what’s the sort of legal scope of accessibility, it’s really looking at precedent that’s been set.

There was a case where we saw the quality of captions for an institution, an educational institution, came up in a lawsuit. They thought that they were kind of covering their bases because they had captioning on their videos. But when it came down to it, the quality was just not good enough to actually act as an accommodation.

We can certainly, again, share more resources on those things. But there’s not really a clear number that is the legal requirement. I don’t know, Brigid–

BRIGID LING: I think it’s also–

ELISA LEWIS: –if you have anything to–

BRIGID LING: –what we have found is that tenths of a percentage decrease in quality is an enormous blunder in the captions themselves. So any minuscule decrease in caption quality is very apparent to the users of those services.

CASEY PEARSON: Great. Well, that’s all of the questions for today. Thank you again, Bridgid and Elisa, for a wonderful discussion. And thank you to everyone who joined us.

BRIGID LING: Thank you, everyone.

ELISA LEWIS: Thank you. Thanks, everyone.