Maximum Accessibility: Making Your Web Site More Usable for Everyone By John M. Slatin,, Sharron Rush
Table of Contents
Chapter 13. Enhancing Accessibility through Multimedia
A caption is basically a transcript that has been synchronized to the video presentation. Transcripts provide a text version of the audio portion the dialog and other sounds of the video presentation. To provide the greatest user independence, transcripts of the audio track and any audio descriptions should be provided in addition to the captioned video files. A transcript is usually but not necessarily provided as a link to a separate page and will be accessed when audio and video are turned off or not supported. A transcript can be linked from the main page by means of a longdesc attribute or a text link. Remember that the text link has to be meaningful both in and out of context. For example, "Assistive technology team dialog" is meaningful in a list of links. "Transcript" is not.
It bears repeating that in order to be accessible that is, to provide equivalent alternatives to audio content audio files must have an associated text transcript. This holds for the audio track of a video, an audio description when present, or an audio file without video. An example shows why this is important.
We are deeply concerned with accessibility in online learning applications and recently surveyed online course offerings that pur-ported to provide tools to create accessible e-learning platforms. This is a critically important field since transportation can be a major barrier to education access for people with disabilities. Course delivery to the student's home computer can tremendously increase options and opportunities. Imagine our surprise, then, when an audio file containing a very informative, lively lecture on accessible e-learning tools was delivered but with no transcript! The disclaimer simply said, "We regret that no text transcript is available at this time." We can only suppose that the instructors expected us to do as they said, not as they did. We believe that the instructors had no business including the materials until they made them accessible to everyone. To do less not only sent the wrong message but also undermined their credibility as experts on the subject of accessible e-learning.