ADA-compliant web videos

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by Web Producer

wfaa.com

Posted on January 19, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Q:  If you're going to have videos on your website then you need to be ADA compliant and have captions or a link to the transcript for the deaf/hearing impaired. We need to know what is going on just like people with normal hearing. Video snippets have made giving the news faster and easier on journalists, but this leaves the deaf/hearing impaired community out of the loop to know what is going on the community and around the state, nation and the world. Please think of us and add the captions.

A:  Thank you for the sensitive email, and thoughtful comments.

At this time we do not have the ability to caption all such material.  The issue is being discussed in Congress: http://www.ada.gov/anprm2010/anprm2010.htm.

Apparently the center point involves a technical issue involving Flash. For example: .flv and .mp4 do not have separate tracks for audio and video (unlike a broadcast signal which has separate tracks for audio, video, captions and even other channels). The audio and video are all in one package. The same would be true for captions. They would need to be included in the mp4, so they would always be on (there would be no on or off option).

As of now, YouTube is the only online entity that we know of that consistently offers captions, however they are actually separate files that must be added to the video after uploading the file. Not sure if flash players have the capability to read caption files or not, but they would need to be developed as well to allow them to be turned on and off. Or perhaps we'll be seeing a brand new web-streaming format for online video with caption capability that would replace mp4 and Flash as the most ubiquitous web video format.

Whatever the case, we are watching it closely. In the meantime we are providing as much information as possible in text formats.

Thank you again for taking the time to write and share your comments. We are most grateful.

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