WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: The best method for creating Video online


From: John E. Brandt
Date: Sep 17, 2009 1:30PM


As you no doubt know, there are several sources of "guidelines" and
"standards" for making digital content accessible to people with
disabilities. Indeed, in several countries around the world, it is the law.
But standards and guidelines are just that, and even if followed very
carefully, don't necessarily make content accessible or fully accessible for

Regarding the needs of people who are deaf and people with hearing
impairments, there are two somewhat distinct mindsets. Many people who are
deaf, particularly people who were born deaf, maintain that sign language
(as in American Sign Language) is their primary language and that all spoken
auditory content should be translated into sign language. Many members of
the community of people with hearing impairments, particularly people whose
hearing has become impaired later in life (this also includes some "late
deafened individuals") prefer to have content captioned; that is, the
auditory content be translated into written text that is displayed at the
same time as the spoken content. The closed captioning on television is an
example of this.

As you have learned, trying to convert spoken auditory content into sign
language creates some challenges for both synchronous and asynchronous
teaching. The current standards and guidelines speak to the importance of
synchronization and do not state a preferred method or translation, but the
consensus has been that if you are needing to choose a method, the
captioning approach is the one. But understand that many people in the Deaf
community would disagree with this.

Just to muddy this a bit more...the philosophy of accessibility surrounds
the ideal of making content accessible to individuals as opposed to
disabilities. If you were building a class where there were no people with
disabilities "in the room" and they all learned the same way, you would
(theoretically) not have to modify your content. But in a distance learning
or asynchronous learning situation, you don't know who will be in the class.
Add to this the reality that there are many types of disabilities (including
multiple dialects of sign language), multiple learning styles and you now
create an almost impossible scenario.

So, my personal advice would be to open caption (not close caption) all
spoken auditory content (audio and video clips) and also provide a complete
written transcript for the content. Should you eventually have a student who
needs conversion to ASL, the school can provide the translator for that
student, at that time. That service, in concert with the transcriptions,
should meet the need.

BTW, some advice... if you are going to use unscripted audio/video content
(recording a "live" session ,especially with multiple speakers), it would be
valuable to have someone live signing the session and to make two video
recordings, one of the speaker and one of the sign language translator. You
can see an example of how we did this at a Maine CITE conference last year
=43 .

Contact me off list is you wish to discuss this further. I have some
contacts who you may wish to speak to.


John E. Brandt
Web Design, Development, Consultation
Augusta, Maine USA

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of ShannonVanI
Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2009 2:17 PM
Subject: [WebAIM] The best method for creating Video online

Hello Technical Genius ,

Could I please ask your assistance? I am a student studying Instructional
design. In short, I design *online* courses. I’m a huge supporter of
Universal Instructional Design, but I’m hitting some road blocks on the
“technology end” simply because I’m more of a writer than a Technical Genius
(programmer). My greatest challenge at this point is making my courses ASL
accessible. When I visit this site from the Canadian Hearing Society

I can access the ASL feature and up comes a gentleman who speaks the
paragraph in ASL. It takes about 3 minutes for me to see him in full
communication for one paragraph of writing. This is not good for a course.
(I don't think it's good at all for that matter.) Yet, I can click on a
YouTube video and see a video in seconds. Can you advise the best means of
online technology use *that is asynchronous* (accessible whenever one
chooses) that would allow a student to simply click on an ASL interface to
access a person ASLing the text in my online course and get immediate
results. Video seems like the best solution. But it can take forever to see
or simply seconds. What’s the catch? What is the best method/tool/tech for
putting video online so that downloads are fast and not choppy?

I *deeply appreciate* any assistance you can provide.


Shannon VI