WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: multimedia accessibility a specialist skillset?


From: Spruill Kevin
Date: Dec 14, 2006 12:17PM

Wendy et al,

First, I second that motion (and emotion) - but also recognize that I'm
in the minority among developers and designers. Not because all are
"lazy" (easy w/ the blanket statements out there folks), but more often
because no one has taught them how, let alone why.

This reality will not change until that fundamental shift is made in the
education/creation/empowerment of new developers and designers... Come
on, think about it - it's taken how long for Usability to become a
consideration... And even now a lot of times it is lacking in scope and
consideration (as noted by the other commentors seminar experience).

'Course, the flip side is that the resulting specialization can be an
economic boon for developers such as myself at times. I'd much rather be
out of work because there was no need for "specialists" though.

Just my rambling $.02 - Good thesis topic by the way.

Kevin Spruill
IT Specialist
Information Resources Accessibility Program

-----Original Message-----
From: wendy constantine [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ]
Sent: Tuesday, December 12, 2006 11:40 PM
Subject: [WebAIM] multimedia accessibility a specialist skillset?

Is the development of accessible rich media including flash, video and
audio appropriately considered a specialist skillset? I've been
conducting research for a thesis in multimedia accessibility for online
museum education, and I am increasingly frustrated by the reasons
developers give for not making an accessible digital product.

The reason I expected to hear is that clients don't require it. Cost,
time, tools and knowledge are the other common barriers, in that order.

If one approaches accessibility from a universal design perspective,
meaning conceiving of the design of the product to meet the needs of
various audiences, the time and cost of accessibility can be minimized,
in my perspective. I have yet to find a developer that will second that
notion, however.

As for tools, captioning tools for video and even flash video are freely
available. The availability of a transcript (audio/video descriptions
aside) would be the main barrier to producing captions cost effectively.
And there are tools to help with just that.
Captioning long segments of video can be time-consuming, yet I would
have to question the reasoning behind delivering long segments of video
over the web.

If anyone has examples of tools and/or services for captioning, please
do suggest them. I would very much like to present some solutions to
these common barriers.

Flash has also come a long way in providing accessibility built into the
development process. It won't think for you, but Flash can enable
accessibility today in ways most developers do not realize. As Bob
Reagan has so eloquently said, it is more a failure of the imagination
than of the tools.

Can anyone foresee a time when accessibility, even for rich media, will
be considered standards based design and not a specialist activity?

Thanks for your input!
Wendy Constantine