[Accessibleweb] Test requested: Closed-captioned web videos

Harry Love hlove at u.washington.edu
Thu May 27 11:30:54 PDT 2004

Thank you for reviewing the videos, Terry. We appreciate your help.
And thank you also for the suggestions. We were concerned about the
amount of text in the caption as well. The captioning standards you
mention say this:

"Experience has shown, however, that much of the caption-viewing
audience prefers to have a verbatim or near-verbatim rendering of the
audio; therefore, any editing that occurs nowadays is usually for
reading speed only. Strive for a reading speed that allows the viewer
enough time to read the captions yet still keep an eye on the program

Initially we tried to use a summary of the points mentioned in the
audio. I found that this worked as long as the audio was turned off or
muted. With the audio turned on it was very difficult for me to follow
along with the video. Moving my eyes between the video and the text and
listening to audio that didn't match up with the text shifted my brain
into information overload mode. Consequently, I had to turn off the
audio, or turn off the captions, or close the player altogether and go
get coffee.

Perhaps the solution is to say less in the audio portion? If we edit
the audio down to the essential points, we could provide a verbatim
caption that would allow users to read, listen, and follow the video.

Any thoughts on that? Or do you know if there is a guideline for
summarizing audio in a way that blends in with the audio/video? I
didn't find any mention of this in the WGBH guidelines. I have also
explored using textual summary screens before and after the video, but
they don't work well for this type of video. At least, they don't work
for videos of this length. Perhaps cutting them into shorter
scenes--say 10-20 seconds--would make that possible?


Terry Thompson wrote:

> Harry,


> Wow, it's great to see so many captioned videos! This is a good example

> of the benefits of universal design, as I find the captions beneficial

> even as a hearing person. The narrator speaks pretty quickly (in a

> Northeast accent) and there are lots of acronyms, so the captions help

> me to better process what's being said.


> My only critique is that as a general rule it's recommended that you use

> only one or two lines for your caption text. Think short phrases or

> sentences, rather than entire paragraphs. When you have more text than

> that, the user has to devote their focus to reading, and can't really

> watch what's happening in the video.

> There are captioning standards that document these sorts of details:

> http://main.wgbh.org/wgbh/pages/mag/services/captioning/faq/sugg-styles-

> conv-faq.html


> As for accessibility for users with other disabilities, most of Real

> Player's controls are accessible by keyboard and work well with screen

> readers. Screen readers don't read the captions but they don't have to

> as most screen reader users can hear the audio. The one barrier that is

> sometimes present for people with visual impairments who are accessing a

> multimedia presentation is when information is presented visually, but

> not also communicated audibly. In these cases the video needs to be

> "audio described", a process in which a voiceover briefly describes what

> the non-visual user doesn't have access to. The voiceover is then

> synchronized with the presentation in a separate audio track, so only

> those who specifically turn it on in their media players can perceive

> it. This too can be done with Magpie. That said, however, this doesn't

> seem to be an issue for your videos (at least not in the 4-5 videos that

> I sampled), as the narrator does a good job of describing what's

> happening on the screen.


> This is a nice site overall - excellent use of style sheets. Good job!


> Terry

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