Accessible media preview from CSUN

Tuesday, 15 March 2016 16:31pm

The annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (commonly known as CSUN) starts on 21 March in San Diego, California. This year there is significant coverage around accessible media. Media Access Australia’s CEO, Alex Varley, previews some personal highlights.

Seated audience attending a conference

  1. UK public broadcaster the BBC has always been a major driver of accessibility and is developing new techniques and approaches that will filter through to the rest of the world, including Australia. Gareth Ford Williams will be reviewing its developments and then looking at future challenges in the session The BBC, a Public Service Accessibility Story; Past, Present and Future.
  2. The next generation of television receivers and viewing devices include the ability for a viewer to adjust the display settings so that the font/colour of captions and where they appear on the screen can be changed. The BBC recently undertook research into this user-experience of subtitles (as captions are called in the UK), and this is being presented as part of the conference in a session entitled Exploring the Diverse needs of Digital Closed Caption Users.
  3. A typical approach to accessibility is to add features such as audio description (sometimes also called descriptive video in the USA) once the video program has been completed. David Errington from Accessible Media Inc, which runs the Canadian fully-audio described channel, is outlining how descriptive video is embedded in all of the production phases.
  4. Accessible media is not just about the provision of access services such as captions and audio description. We are now much more focused on the accessibility of the media player itself. There have been a number of media players released that have accessibility features included. Ken Petri from the Ohio State University will be reviewing some of those web media players and their accessibility features, a potentially useful resource for web developers, teachers and general consumers.
  5. Finally, another related paper from the BBC’s Emma Pratt Richens looks at how they developed and delivered a high quality accessible HTML5 media player.

A detailed program of the presentations covering technology for disabled people is on the CSUN 2016 website.

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