[Accessibleweb] Test requested: Closed-captioned web videos

Terry Thompson tft at u.washington.edu
Thu May 27 15:18:48 PDT 2004


I sampled one of your videos (the Introduction) with a colleague who is
deaf a short while ago. He had some interesting insights.

He said he didn't mind the four lines of captions, and felt that the
longer captions were actually easier for him to digest than shorter
segments would be if the shorter segments disappeared too rapidly to be
read, which sometimes happens. So I guess the most important
consideration is timing - making sure the captions flow smoothly and are
synchronized with the video, without requiring that the user be able to
read them at warp speed.

Another of my colleague's observations though was that the video is at
first confusing since there's so much text, and so little action. The
first half of the Introduction video just has a few long static screen
shots, each of which itself has lots of readable text. Combine that with
up to four lines of captions (which due to their length don't change
frequently), and it gives the impression that the video is paused. Plus,
there's so much text on the captured screen he wasn't sure if he was
supposed to be reading the screen text, or the caption text, or if both
were the same.

I like your proposed solution:

>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.

By saying less in the audio, you might also be able to trim some of the
still video out so it seems less static.


>-----Original Message-----

>From: accessibleweb-bounces at mailman.u.washington.edu

>[mailto:accessibleweb-bounces at mailman.u.washington.edu] On

>Behalf Of Harry Love

>Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 11:31 AM

>To: accessibleweb at u.washington.edu

>Subject: Re: [Accessibleweb] Test requested: Closed-captioned

>web videos



>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:



>> s-

>> 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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