To make the Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA's) website, UUA.org, comply with accessibility standards for hearing-impaired people.
Web accessibility is more than helping hearing and sight impaired folks get our web content. Universal access is at the core of Unitarian Universalist (UU) values and social justice commitments. However, having an accessible web presence has other benefits. People with disabilities number in the millions in the U.S. Folks without “disabilities”, including older people, people with literacy and language barrier issues, people with low bandwidth connections and older technologies, also number in the millions and suffer access barriers with websites that aren’t accessible. An accessible site can increase search rankings and web traffic to our pages.
UUA.org meets most accessibility standards, except for our audio and video files. To make videos posted on UUA.org accessible, they need transcripts (the full text of what’s said, including names of the speakers, posted on the same web page or on a separate page linked from the page where the video appears) and captions (text of what’s said, appearing in the video player itself as the video is played). Audio files posted on UUA.org need transcripts.
However, transcripts and captions require time and money to create. Captions cost about $2.50/minute depending on video quality and number of speakers. We can get captions more cheaply by using YouTube, but they require significant cleanup on our part to avoid "fake captioning." Captions take three to five business days to create, proofread, and post on the website.
A text alternative to audio and video is important...
- for accessibility: don't exclude people with different levels of ability.
- for users who can't play sound (perhaps due to their location).
- for people who absorb information better by reading than by listening.
- so your information is unambiguous, and easily quoted or shared.
- for people who wish to scan the content before deciding to invest the time to watch or listen.
- for users who can't or don't want to install the software or allow the security settings required to use multimedia files.
- for search engine optimization (SEO)—search engines can't return your pages for words that aren't on them.
Audio and video files should have transcripts, and video files should have captions, if they meet these criteria:
- The material is current (e.g. less than one month old).
- The material is expected to have enduring value (e.g. Ware lectures from General Assembly (GA)).
- The audience is expected to be large (e.g. at least hundreds of likely viewers).
- The words are of primary importance (e.g. a video is not primarily visual or instrumental music).
Furthermore, we strongly recommend transcripts and captions when a video or audio file is part of a process that is integral to the mission of the UUA, and there is no other text-only alternative.
For example, these are cases where transcripts and captions would be desirable:
- material in support of participation in the business of the Association (for example, a video about how delegates can participate in voting at GA)
- material required for credentialing (for example, an audio file that is part of interim minister training)
- material required for full participation in UUA programs (for example, a video that’s part of a Tapestry of Faith curriculum)
Approved by the Leadership Council, April 6, 2011
- Transcripts are important for accessibility: don't exclude people with different levels of ability.
- Transcipts help users who can't play sound (perhaps due to their location).
- Transcripts are good for people who absorb information better by reading than by listening.
- Transcripts help information to be unambiguous, and easily quoted or shared.
- Transcripts are useful to people who wish to scan the content before deciding to invest the time to watch or listen.
- Transcripts are good for users who can't or don't want to install the software or allow the security settings required to use multimedia files.
- Transcripts allow content to be included in search results.