DO-IT Center Launches New Video Website

Friday, February 25, 2011

The DO-IT Center has launched its enhanced online video website with improved accessibility features. The site includes 43 videos that DO-IT has produced over the years, addressing a range of topics related to individuals with disabilities accessing curriculum, using technology, and pursuing challenging careers. [Picture of a screen shot of the DO-IT Video Collection webpage.]

Accessibility features of the new DO-IT Video Collection site include the following:

  • Browser compatibility - The video player works in all major browsers. For browsers that don't support HTML5 video, an accessible Flash player is automatically provided.
  • Closed captioned - The video player supports closed captions for users who are unable to hear the audio. Captions can be toggled on and off, and users can control the captions' font size.
  • Audio description - The video player supports audio description, a narration track provided for users who are unable to see content that's presented visually. Closed audio description (which can be toggled on and off by the user) is available on newer videos.
  • Keyboard controls - The video player can be controlled without a mouse, for example by screen reader users, Braille users, and people navigating by keyboard. The player includes access keys that allow its main functions to be controlled with a single keystroke, regardless of one's current position on the web page.
  • Interactive transcript - The website includes an interactive transcript. Users can click anywhere in the transcript to start the video at that point. This feature, like the player itself, is accessible by keyboard.
  • Searchable audio - The website includes a search feature that enables users to search the entire DO-IT Video Collection for specific words or phrases. From the results page, users can jump directly to the point in a video where their search terms are being spoken.
  • Multi-lingual - Video captions and transcripts are available in multiple languages for some videos. Several videos have been translated into Japanese, and work is currently underway to translate them into Spanish, and possibly other languages in the future.
  • Custom interface - The interface is highly customizable. Users can select their settings and preferred features on a Preferences page.
  • Alternate versions - Alternative versions of most videos are provided for users who are unable to view the videos online, or who simply want to have a copy stored on their local computer. Most videos are available in Windows and Quicktime formats. These downloadable versions are open captioned and audio described.

The DO-IT Video Collection website uses the HTML5 video element, which provides a standard cross-browser method for adding video to web pages. HTML5 video is supported by the latest versions of all major browsers except Internet Explorer (IE), and will be added to IE in the next major release, IE9. HTML5 is still a draft specification, and no browsers currently support its accessibility features (e.g., closed captions and closed audio description). However, HTML5 includes a robust application programming interface (API), which enables web developers to build their own support for these features.