Increase Your Audience Size Through Accessibility (Blog World 2010)
I am hearing impaired and my experience has been that I usually can’t watch videos or listen to audio like podcasts. The reason why I don’t watch a video that has no transcription is because although I rely on lip reading, it’s next to impossible to lip read people in the video, and of course, I can’t understand what is being said. And because I can’t make sense of speech in videos, I can’t make very much sense of the content as a whole. It’s like that for many hearing impaired people. Hearing impaired people are very vocal, so if a site doesn’t provide an alternative means of accessing the content within a podcast or a video, they’ll go elsewhere, and tell their friends and family that the site in question is rubbish. Then that obviously gets passed on.
Accessibility in government
Many thanks for this blog post Alistair.
I'd like to add to it 5 things you can do to make an oral presentation accessible to dyslexic people.
1. Cater for all learning styles. (This will help everyone, not only dyslexic people, because everyone learns differently). In other words, give your audience content to listen to (vary this by including some audio clips of other people's voices); look at (present information visually wherever possible e.g. timelines, sketchnote summary); and do (e.g. distribute your slides in advance so that people can bring a copy and add their own notes). If you can sing, sing a summary of the bit of your presentation that you most want people to take away with them. Use a tune you already know.
2. Generally, speak at a steady pace. Leave at least a few seconds' gap for processing at the ends of sections when you don't say or do anything. Vary the speed, volume and pitch of voice you use.
3. At the beginning of your presentation, give the gist of what you're going to say.
4. Dramatise some of your content e.g. tell stories about real or imaginary people, ideally that move your audience emotionally; or go into role and do a monologue or dialogue with others. You may be able to use video or audio clips that other people have made for this.
5. Let anyone make an audio recording of your presentation for their own personal use.
6 Ways to Increase Audience on Your Event
Philips is a perfect example of effectiveness in social streaming. As a strategic sponsor of the Festival of Kinetic Art of Light the brand actively engaged attendees in online interactions. Interactive agency – Socialyse (Havas Media Group) that was behind it provided live coverage of the event in a specially prepared Social Newsroom. They published content in a real time on social media platforms. Philips itself actively published contents on its social media profiles. What is more, all mentions related to the event were gathered through social media monitoring and then displayed on a special hashboard, thus people could have seen their posts on the screen in a real time and on dedicated website .
Discovery has never been easier.
Accessibility is mostly about designing internet browsers, websites, and other tools so that they function with flexibility in order to adapt to and meet users’ needs. A prime example is that up until very recently, the most common web browsers did not enable zoom functionality. There have been settings to increase font size rather than absolute size, and it did not put text in images. When text is provided for images, there are screen readers that read the text aloud, so that the person is able to know what the picture is. When this sort of accessibility is provided, the information then becomes available to those who have visual disabilities, and even those who do not have image capabilities on their mobile phones. This would happen when someone would want to lower their bandwidth charges, or in rural areas that have low bandwidth. This information then becomes available to every person with access to the internet.
In some cases, individuals can’t use a standard mouse, including older users that have limited fine motor control. A website that caters to accessibility would not rely on the use of a mouse. It would be able to provide all functionality by using the keyboard. This would enable those with disabilities to use the assistive technologies that would mimic a keyboard, like that of speech input.
For well-designed websites, they work cohesively with assisting technology, like screen readers. Screen readers will read out loud what is on the screen for those who cannot see well or at all, cannot process the written language, or have other disabilities. Screen magnification software is used for those who have low vision, head or mouth sticks are used with those who are not able to use their arms.
The basics of accessibility is easier and more cost effective than simply providing transcripts. Often times, the proper techniques are used but they are poorly integrated into the web tools, development processes, and education. It is vital for those that are curious about accessibility to take the time to educate themselves about not only what accessibility is, but how to successfully incorporate it. Website developers can even turn to authoring tools that support accessibility; this makes it easier on developers. In short, accessibility is necessary for developers and organizations that aim to create high quality sites and tools, while not excluding anyone from using their products and services.
Accessibility in government
But since abbreviations are a major source of difficulty for screen reader users, maybe we could all prevail on W3C to recommend a standard method of dealing with them? Perhaps by simply recommending screen reader and other speech devices should automatically supply the phonetic pronunciation to anything inside the <abbr> element (whether or not it has a title attribute, as the developer pleases). (Including using either Zed and Zee for Z according to the lang attribute in force at the time.)