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Vimeo enhances accessibility

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The video sharing website Vimeo has introduced several new features, including support for closed captions and foreign language subtitles on its video player.

Until now, YouTube was the only social video sharing service which allowed videos to be made accessible to Deaf and hearing impaired viewers. As reported by the Drum, with this added function, Vimeo will be more competitive and viewers will have access to a larger amount of content.


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Government changes web accessibility plan

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The Australian Government has released its progress report on the National Transition Strategy (NTS) – its schedule to make its websites conform to international accessibility standards. The report signals a change in the Government’s approach that could affect the timeframe for when people with disability are given equal access to government information and services.

First put in place in 2010, the NTS stated that all government websites must comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 level A by the end of 2012 and level AA by the end of 2014. Now, the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) has said that this timeframe was unrealistic.

Chief Information Officer Glenn Archer said that “It is clear that some websites and some web applications will not meet the ambitious 2014 timeframe for WCAG 2.0 level AA conformance”, and that a framework will be put in place for continuous accessibility improvement next year.


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Highlights of 2013: television caption quality

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In June, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) released its long-awaited caption standard, setting out the criteria it will use when dealing with complaints from the public about poor captioning.

The Broadcasting Services (Television Captioning) Standard.2013 is a very important piece of legislation for Deaf and hearing impaired viewers. Prior to its release, there was no definition of captions in the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and no indication of what constituted adequate caption quality. This meant that the ACMA could only deal effectively with complaints about a program where the captions either did not appear, or were so bad that they were obviously useless for viewers.


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Highlights of 2013: Foxtel’s On Demand movies captioned

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Deaf and hearing impaired viewers have seen large increases in caption levels on television in recent years, but at the same time have been frustrated by a lack of captions on video on demand and catch-up TV services. That makes Foxtel’s decision to provide captions on 14 of its On Demand services from 1 October all the more welcome.

As well as captioning the majority of new releases on the On Demand channels (which are released on the same day as the DVD),  Foxtel is also providing half of the free on demand content that subscribers can access through the iQ section of their iQ or MyStar set top boxes.

Benjamin Cox, Foxtel’s Head of Channel Production, told Media Access Australia that “We’ve received a lot of customer feedback over the years and closed captioning for on demand content is something that has always been requested, particularly since video on demand has grown in usage over the recent years.”


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