I had an amazing time being on Seth Odell’s Higher Ed Live weekly web show. I was asked to talk about higher education and web accessibility. We just barely scratched the surface of what it means to have an accessible web. However, I think that this was a great conversation starter and I look forward to coming on the show to talk about accessibility in 2011.
The back channel conversation provided a lot of questions and insight. It was great to see so many higher education professionals engaging in a conversation on web accessibility and higher education.
Seth and I put together a terrific list of accessibility resources for folks to peruse over at his website. Like I said last night: We all go together or we don’t go at all. Accessibility is an ethical mandate. Accessibility might not be the sexy topic du jour (eg: social media), but it is necessary.
Google does not always create accessible products (GoogleWave). However, sometimes they do a good job of increasing the accessibility of an existing service. I hope that Vimeo gets the message that accessibility is important.
In the first major step toward making millions of videos on YouTube accessible to deaf and hearing-impaired people, Google unveiled new technologies that will automatically bring text captions to many videos on the site.
Yesterday’s post on Vimeo, YouTube, accessibility and closed captioning was read, and commented on, by Blake Whitman, Director of Community at Vimeo. Please note that I do not have any ill will towards Vimeo. They make neat things. I just wish that they made them accessible…which really means that their “things” aren’t as neat as they could be.
According to Blake:
I thought I would respond here as I believe there may be a misunderstanding regarding our intentions. We care a great deal about closed captioning and we fully intend to provide such support as soon as we can assign developers to the project. While YouTube has large staff and ample resources, we are a small and dedicated team that works tirelessly to meet all of our users’ needs. We did not mean to offend you or anyone else who would like to see CC support on Vimeo, and we will develop a closed captioning system as soon as we are able to. We apologize for the wait.
Blake was responding to my comment on the lack of captioning technology for Vimeo videos. My comment was driven by a comment that Blake left on the Vimeo forums:
[Captioning] is a very big project and not something that can just happen overnight. We have a lot of higher priority features in the cue right now, and when we find the appropriate time, we will definitely look into offering CC support.
My question to Blake and the folks at Vimeo is how can you “care a great deal about closed captioning” while not actually actively supporting its development?
I shot about thirty minutes of video during commencement morning at OSU. It was a cloudy day (so unexpected here in Oregon!) so I amped up the color in iMovie. I asked our graduates if they had any advice for incoming students…”things they wish they had known as first-year students” ;-)
I had a lot of fun interviewing our students…I may make it an annual activity. We show the video at the completion of our college’s orientation session on day 1:
Well, at least one whale anyway. The SMILE Program at OSU with the assistance of some high school students from Oregon created a gigantic inflatable whale and placed it in the Memorial Union Quad last Friday. The web cam on the roof of Milam Hall recorded this timelapse video. I made it a little more dramatic with the addition of the theme from Jaws:
Experimenting with a Canon HF10… I was in a meeting when we noticed this guy flying a kite on Friday afternoon in the Memorial Union Quad at Oregon State University. I had been demoing the video camera and editing video for most of the day. I ran outside and shot this clip. I imported it into iMovie and messed around with the color saturation. The grass is very green and the sky is very blue! I uploaded the finished product to my brand new Vimeo Plus account. The quality is quite good.
Sometimes I stumble across something that is just so magnificent that I have to post it on my blog. This underwater high-def footage from the Galapagos is awe inspiring. Visit Vimeo for the full HD experience and turn your speakers on…the music is from the Dark Knight. It’s a perfect match for the footage. Spectacular!
Watched WALL-E. It was wonderful! I think it’s my new favorite Pixar film. WALL-E is loaded with social commentary. I highly recommend it to anyone who is waiting in line on Friday to see The Dark Knight. Trust me, you’re going to need a backup movie because Batman is going to sell-out faster than you can say Joker.
I remember the first time I closed my eyes, put on a pair of headphones and browsed the web using a screen reader. It was extremely challenging. Images without ALT attributes, Flash objects, and poorly coded websites left me feeling extremely frustrated and gave me even more empathy for web users with visual impairments. I think all website designers/coders should experience what it’s like to browse the web using a screen reader. This video shows Aaron Cannon, blind since birth, browsing a website using a screen reader.