Vimeo and closed captioning

Vimeo is not accessible for users with hearing impairments

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?

Two years ago on the Vimeo forums, Blake set the tone regarding Vimeo’s stance on closed captioning and it seems that they really don’t care about making accessible videos a priority:

To be very honest until the demand for a feature like this increases, we probably won’t have the time to develop it.

I wonder how Vimeo is defining “demand”? The following threads on the Vimeo forums have been active for quite a while:

I think that the issue stems from how closed captions and accessibility is viewed at Vimeo. Two months ago, another Vimeo staffer, Dalas Verdugo, made the following comment about subtitles (captions):

This is obviously a useful feature, and we may be able to develop it in time, but contrary to the comments about how “easy” it would be to implement, we do not currently have any developers available to build this feature.

I apologize for any inconvenience this causes, and we’ll certainly keep this feature in mind as we continue to plan and schedule development.

This is not an inconvenience. It’s about access. People who cannot hear, cannot use Vimeo. I think that this shows that Vimeo is not about community. Communities care about all of their members…not just the ones that can hear.