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Evaluation: Accessible Interface to YouTube

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From: Thomas Jolliffe
Date: Apr 29, 2009 1:10PM


Hello all,

I can't claim to be a long-term subscriber, but I'd appreciate a favour if
possible. I'm a final-year Computer Science student at Newcastle University
and for my dissertation I've been investigating the effect which what we
call "Web 2.0" has had on accessibility.

As part of this investigation, I've implemented what I think are some good
practices, and to demonstrate a number of them working together I've created
a somewhat simplified interface for YouTube, which you can find at
http://tube.majestyc.net/. It makes use of technologies such as JavaScript,
in line with what we can reasonably expect on the web nowadays, but also of
things like WAI-ARIA live regions to aid the use of such dynamic scripting.
Similarly, the video player uses a Flash object, but controlled by
JavaScript firing from standard HTML buttons, instead of using buttons
integrated into the Flash object itself.

In order to evaluate what real-world users think, I've set up an online
questionnaire, available at the horrible address of
http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/128706/accessible-youtube, and via TinyURL at
http://tinyurl.com/aiyt-eval. It's built using the website Survey Gizmo and,
while it's not exactly perfect from an accessibility perspective, it's a
pretty clean page and after a quick run-through myself with JAWS I didn't
find too many glaring problems. I'd have liked to have built a system
myself, but unfortunately simply haven't had time.

Some people have questioned my use of YouTube, given that many of the site's
intended audience will have visual impairments. However, not only is it a
good demonstration of multimedia on the web, I don't think we shouldn't
dismiss a video site outright. So many users are partially sighted, and the
impact of YouTube across the web - and, arguably, society - has been
enormous. And, let's not forget, it provides audio as well as video.

Many thanks in anticipation of your responses, every single one is greatly
appreciated. I am running somewhat behind schedule, so I'm looking to gather
as many responses as possible in the next few days. If anyone knows of a
good place to post this, let me know, or feel free to simply quote this
message.

There's a link on the 'Thanks' page to email me if you'd like to see an
electronic copy of my dissertation when it's finished, but anyone
(questionnaire or no questionnaire) is welcome to email me directly and I'll
add you to the list.

Once again, you can find the site at http://tube.majestyc.net/ and the
questionnaire at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/128706/accessible-youtube (or,
if you trust a TinyURL link, at http://tinyurl.com/aiyt-eval).

Thanks for reading,
Tom