Video DescriptionsCreating descriptions for any video typically breaks down into three main activities:
- Authoring the descriptions
- Recording the descriptions
- Adding the description audio to the video
- Record audio using a USB microphone plugged directly into a computer. There are many low-cost, good-quality USB microphones available, such as those from Blue Designs. Avoid using the built-in microphone of a laptop or smartphone since the audio quality will be inferior.
- Audio can be recorded with any number of free or low-cost software applications, such as Audacity, that will save your description track as a .wav or .mp3 file (the most common formats for recording and playing audio).
- For the highest quality, record the descriptions in a quiet room that is echo-free. We recorded our descriptions in a typical office which did not have special sound baffling or other accommodations.
- Read through the script several times to become comfortable with the language, and to warm up your voice so that you can speak clearly.
- We recorded two versions of each description and selected the best versions during the editing process.
- Both the original soundtrack and the description track need to be opened in an audio editor.
- We used Adobe’s Audition to export the original video’s soundtrack as a .wav file.
- The volume level of the soundtrack should be dipped at the points when descriptions are spoken. Also, the volume levels should be adjusted so that the description audio is clear to the listener but also not so loud that it is jarring.
- We opened both the soundtrack and the description audio in Audacity, then adjusted the audio level of each track and made any edits to the description that were needed. We prefer Audacity because it is a free, straight-forward audio-processing tool. Audio editing could also be done in other more sophisticated and powerful audio editors such as Adobe’s Audition, Pro Tools, or Garage Band.
- After the editing is complete, the dipped soundtrack and the description track need to be combined into a single audio track, known as the mixed track.
- Again, we used Audacity to mix the two tracks together, then we exported a .wav file.
- Now, the new mixed track must be married to the video. This must be done with video-editing software. First, we deleted the original (un-dipped) soundtrack, and then we replaced it with the mixed track. We used Adobe Premiere Pro as our video editor, but many other video-editing tools could be used, including iMovie.
- For newcomers to video-editing tools, this process can be a little tricky. For example, it often requires several steps to remove an audio track permanently (i.e., simply muting the track is not enough).
- Finally, the video and its new mixed audio track must be exported into a format that is compatible with the target media player. Again, we used Adobe Premier Pro to export the final described video as an .mp4 file.
Video CaptionsCreating captions for a digital video typically breaks down into two main activities:
- Authoring the captions
- Linking the captions to the video
- Authoring the captions
- Linking the captions to the video
Add Accessibility to GamesCase Study: House Hunt HTML5 Game The following accessibility features were built into the House Hunt game:
- Keyboard Access
- determine a format for storing the caption data (typically JSON)
- write the captions
- provide a text element for displaying captions
- load the caption data
- retrieve and display the corresponding caption when an audio clip is played
- clear the caption display at the appropriate time
- provide the means of hiding and showing the caption display
- the interactive buttons appear in the tab flow of the full page (allowing navigation into and out of the game); and
- the interactive buttons are accessible to screen-reader users (see Screen-Reader Access).
- Arrow key access is captured and trapped by the game.
- When the buttons in the game are disabled – such as when the audio is being played – the tab navigation sometimes jumps around elements in an unpredictable manner.
- When the second leaf is revealed and a match is not made, the leaves go back to their original state too quickly for screen-reader users to identify the second object.
- When leaves are selected, the game audio that is played is difficult to hear because the screen reader is speaking.
- At this time, screen-reader audio descriptions of other animations occurring during the course of the game are not included.
Accessible DocumentsAn accessible document is one that can be read by everyone, including people using assistive technology. Digital documents such as Web pages, Word documents and PDFs can all be made to be accessible. This doesn’t require special accessibility tools or software but it’s not as easy as pressing a button labeled “Make This Accessible.” There is a lot of information about accessibility available on the Web, including from the software makers themselves. We’ve provided links to some of this information below. While there is a wide-ranging list of criteria for making a digital document accessible, most of what makes a document accessible is structure. A well-structured document can, for example, enable a person who is blind and using special text-to-speech software (called a screen reader) to efficiently navigate a document’s headings, paragraphs, columns and tables, in addition to reading the text. Well-structured documents are also beneficial to people who cannot use a mouse or who employ other assistive technology, such as eye-gaze equipment or a mouth-operated joystick. In addition to using appropriate structural markup, content in images must be made accessible. This includes non-text elements that provide information such as pictures, diagrams, charts, graphs, images of text, and math equations. These can be made accessible by providing a text description of each image which a screen reader will read aloud in place of the image. Below are brief explanations of the ways in which three common types of digital documents (Web pages, Word and PDF) can be made accessible, and links for more specific instructions. Note: Printed documents can be unreadable for people who are blind or have low vision. Although some people make use of magnifiers and other assistive technologies, these don’t work for everyone. Printed documents can also be translated into braille. However, not everyone who is blind or has low vision reads braille. Therefore, it’s important to always provide accessible versions of digital documents. Accessible Websites The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) is an international standard for Web accessibility. WCAG 2.0 is a highly detailed recommendation, but the WCAG quick-reference guideprovides a useful shortcut for understanding compliance levels and success criteria. In addition, a small industry has developed to assist individuals and organizations in creating accessible Web sites. This includes everything from free how-to guides and courses, to accessibility-checking software, to Web-development companies and consulting firms dedicated to accessible Web design. A brief search will bring you to a variety of useful resources all along this spectrum. Accessible Word Documents The best way to ensure accessibility of Word documents is to use the formatting toolsavailable within Word itself. For example, using the table-editing tool or the outline tool will create tables and outlines that are automatically formatted to be accessible. Use heading styles, list tools, and other formatting markup to take advantage of semantic structure rather than using visual styles to simulate structure (e.g., applying bold styles to make plain text look like heading text). Accessible PDF PDF is a popular format from Adobe that preserves the fonts, images, graphics and layout of nearly any source document. This ensures that users will see the finished document exactly as the author intended. In order for PDFs to be accessible, they need to be created using properly structured tags, appropriate alternative information where necessary (e.g., images must be marked with text alternatives), and the tags must reflect the proper reading order. If a source document is created with this in mind, it can be successfully accessed using a screen reader or other assistive technology. Screen-reader users are especially affected by the way in which the PDF is created, so it is crucial that PDFs be authored to be accessible by everyone. Providing proper structure in the source document (Word, InDesign, or other format) is a crucial first step toward having an accessible PDF. A PDF that hasn’t been made accessible can be difficult or even impossible for a blind or visually impaired user to navigate. A variety of tools and techniques exist to create accessible PDFs, but authors must be careful to structure the source document properly, export the PDF correctly, and review the final PDF using applications (such as Adobe Acrobat) that permit additional markup or structure to ensure that the document is as accessible as possible.
- Adobe accessibility
- PDF accessibility overview
- Acrobat accessibility
- Verifying PDF accessibility with Acrobat Pro
- Using Acrobat’s accessibility checker
- Adobe accessibility blog
- Creating accessible PDFs from Word documents (Microsoft documentation)
- Designing Word documents that ensure accessible PDFs
- Adobe InDesign accessibility
- Adding structure to PDFs created with InDesign
- InDesign accessibility FAQ
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Accessible Peep’s videos and games are universally designed with their accommodations available to everyone. Please use them with students of all abilities and learning styles and use the how-to guides to create your own accessible learning materials. Please let us know how it goes by sending us an email.