Why I love Captioning for Conferences

I had been to conferences with live transcription before, but SRCCON 2014 was my first time seeing them at a mainstream conference. The transcription services even inspired a battle between a debate champion and the captioner. Three years later, and I’ve gone back the transcripts a few times a phrase or remind myself of the conversation.

I am generally a person without any hearing related disability. I’m sure years of playing music, working concerts, and listening to headphones has left me with some hearing loss, but in general, I can hear at conferences. Except sometimes the room is loud. Or a person near me is talking. Or the mic isn’t held close enough to the speaker. In those cases, I’m reminded of one of the top reasons I love live captioning for tech conferences.

Anyone in the room can become a non-hearing person

Anyone has been to a conference has sat near someone that needed to comment on the presentation while it is going on.  I’m sorry if that person was me for you. Having the ability to see what was said, helps me when I miss something that was spoken.

Real-time captioning also allows the audience to be less focused on taking notes since the talk is already available in text. Some people are less auditory of learners and thus the written record allows them
learn using a method that works better for them.

Transcripts allow the speaker to see what we said

Like many speakers, I have verbal ticks that I fall back on. Transcripts allow me to see how many times I say “you know” or begin a sentence with “so”. The live transcript can also be utilized to help create a blog post from your talk.

People need it to attend

As much as captions help me, they can make the difference between someone being able to learn at an event and someone not being able to learn. 360 million people have disabling hearing loss. Captioning of conferences can help make it possible for that otherwise could not participate to participate.

The other day, a video made the rounds of a man being gifted Enchroma glasses and experiencing color for the first time.  Helen Hou-Sandí asked the question “What if we thought about web accessibility work as bringing these moments to people?”  What if we also thought about event accessibility as bringing these moments to people?

The right to learn is the right to earn. Education, both formal and informal, is the foundation for advancement. Captioning can break down a barrier that prevents people from learning. By enabling all people to learn, we enable all people to earn.

The Year of the WordPress Accessibility Team – WerdsWords

This year has seen a lot of positive change in the WordPress contributor community, especially in the area of accessibility.

Take for instance, the appearance this year of two new faces on the credits screen as of WordPress 4.3:

Source: The Year of the WordPress Accessibility Team – WerdsWords

Drew is completely on target here. The WordPress Accessibility team has been rocking it lately. It wasn’t long ago that the question of if the Accessibility team should exist was floating around. They were the only team without a product, but instead focused on things across many teams. Since then, the team has stepped up big time and really is making WordPress better for everyone.  While Drew highlights the work they do for core in his post, they also have:

  • Created the Accessibility Ready guidlines and tag for themes
  • Helped to improve the accessibility of wordpress.org
  • Helped WordCamps have more accessible sites
  • much much more

Kudos to the WordPressAccessibility Team.  WordPress, and thus the web, is better because of the work they do.

WordPress › Let WordPress Speak: New in WordPress 4.2 « Make WordPress Accessible

Person with open mouth
Photo By via http://public-domain.pictures/

WordPress 4.2 is shipping with a useful new JavaScript method: wp.a11y.speak(). This is a utility to make it easy for WordPress core to create consistent methods for providing live updates for JavaScript events to users of screen readers – with the side benefit that developers of plug-ins and themes can also make use of it either on the front or back end.

Source: WordPress › Let WordPress Speak: New in WordPress 4.2 « Make WordPress Accessible

One of my favorite changes coming in WordPress 4.2 is a new accessibility API to help with communicating changes on the page to Screen Readers. Core is using it in a number of places (including shiny updates) to improve the experience for users of screen readers. I’m excited to see plugins start taking advantage of it as well. The first step in accessibility is making something usable. The second is making sure the experience is top notch. This helps support step two.

Color Is Based on Surrounding Color

“The redness isn’t a property of the apple. It’s a property of the apple in combination with a particular lighting that’s on it and a particular observer looking at it.”

via These X’s Are The Same Shade, So What Does That Say About Color? : Shots – Health News : NPR.

Next to typography, color is the most important part of the visual design of your website. Yet, color is also very misunderstood. Color more than any other part of web design, does not live in a bubble. Color is about how things relate to each other. Saying that #990000 is an easy color to read can change if your background is black, white, or pink

Ensuring that colors contrast correctly means both ensuring that there is enough luminance contrast, but also so that there is enough simultaneous contrast. And if that isn’t enough, we also need to remember to take into account the psychological effect of different colors and the cultural meanings that our color can have.

These four factors combine to make color selection a non-trivial problem.  What makes color an even harder problem is that we are only at the type of the iceberg for color perception.  What else effects color display? Our screens calibration. The tools we use to change how color display based on the time of day. The cones in our eyes. The lighting in the room.

Color is far from a simple problem. All these factors combine to show why we can’t rush color decisions. They need to be thought out and considered from many angles. As Josef Albers wrote in the seminal Interaction of Color, “In order to use color effectively it is necessary to recognize that color deceives continually.”

Accessibility Camp DC 2011

Last year, I went to Accessibility Camp DC 2010 and afterwards said:

Before hand, I knew just a little bit about accessibility, but I’m happy to say that I walked out with a ton of new knowledge and a desire to keep learning on the subject.

I’m happy to say I did keep learning and this continued at Accessibility Camp DC 2011. Some of the highlights for me this year included:

Thanks to John Croston and everyone that helped organize and run this things. This is the first annual event in DC that I’ve attended multiple times and I am already looking forward to next years event.

Accessibility Camp DC 2010

I spent last Saturday at Accessibility Camp DC learning about some ways to make technology more accessible to the world. Before hand, I knew just a little bit about accessibility, but I’m happy to say that I walked out with a ton of new knowledge and a desire to keep learning on the subject. Some of the highlights for me:

Overall, I’m incredibly happy that I went and can’t wait to continue learning. Big thanks to John Croston and his team for organizing this great event. Hopefully in the next year I will have learned enough to feel comfortable presenting a session at Accessibility Camp DC 2011.