Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What is DO-IT?
- What is the DO-IT Video Collection?
- How is the DO-IT Video Collection funded?
- How does the search feature work?
- What video player are you using?
- Are your videos available on YouTube?
- Are your videos audio described?
- How do you produce accessible videos?
- Is the DO-IT Video Search source code available?
- Who do I contact with feedback or suggestions?
- What are some other resources on video accessibility?
What is DO-IT?
The DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) Center at the University of Washington has, since 1992, served to increase the success of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers. It promotes the use of computer and networking technologies to increase independence, productivity, and participation in education and employment.
What is the DO-IT Video Collection?
Over the years, DO-IT has produced dozens of videos on a wide range of topics related to people with disabilities accessing curriculum, using technology, and pursuing challenging careers. The DO-IT Video Collection is a website that provides users with a variety of ways to explore all of these DO-IT videos, from 1994 to present. With only a few exceptions, most videos have been encoded for online viewing and can be viewed within our accessible media player. An interactive transcript is also available for most videos, and all videos are also available for download in either Quicktime or Windows formats. The DO-IT Video Collection site also includes a search feature that enables users to search the full text of all videos and begin playing videos at specific start times from the search results. This feature is possible because our videos are captioned.
How is the DO-IT Video Collection funded?
DO-IT Video Search was developed with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF, Cooperative Agreement #HRD-0227995) and continues to be updated and maintained as an activity of the AccessComputing project, also with NSF funding (Grants #CNS-0540615, CNS-0837508, and CNS-1042260). The contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the U.S. federal government, and you should not assume their endorsement.
How does the search feature work?
All of DO-IT's videos are closed captioned. Closed captions come in a variety of formats depending on the type of media being used, but most of these are plain text files that include blocks of caption text and timestamps that indicate the start and end time for each caption. We have developed a script that reads these files and stores their information into a database, where it can quickly and easily be searched.
What video player are you using?
We at The DO-IT Center created our own media player that uses the HTML5 <video> element. The player, named Able Player, is a free, open source, accessible media player that includes far too many accessibility features to include them all on this page. For additional information see Able Player on GitHub.
Are your videos available on YouTube?
Yes. Please visit the DO-IT Channel on YouTube, and lend your voice to the comments and discussions there.
Are your videos audio described?
Yes, all of DO-IT's videos include audio description. Audio description is a narrative voiceover that describes content (including key actions or screen text) that is otherwise presented only visually, and is therefore not accessible to someone who is unable to see it. Since the added narration may be distracting to some users, we have produced two versions of all our videos, one with audio description and one without. If you prefer accessing the described version, simply select the "Description on by default" option by clicking the Preferences button on the media player.
How do you produce accessible videos?
The following is a step-by-step guide through the process by which our videos are produced:
- Write the scripts. All our videos are created from scripts. Often this includes unscripted content (e.g., interviews, footage filmed on location at the University of Washington), but even this content is integrated into the script. Starting with a script results in a more polished presentation and an easier video editing process later. Also, the script content can easily be converted into captions, eliminating the extra time and cost of transcribing the video post-production.
- Plan for accessibility during production. Since all our videos include captions, we are careful when filming to avoid critical content appearing near the bottom of the frame, where captions might later be displayed. Similarly, since all our videos include audio description, we are careful when scripting to pace the video in ways that ensure that there is enough space for narration to be mixed in.
- Produce and encode the videos. Most of our videos are produced in-house by UW Video. Captions and audio description are added during production, either by in-house staff or third party vendors. The final deliverables include media for broadcast television, DVD, and the web. For the latter, videos are encoded into multiple formats: MP4 files (for use in Google Chrome, Microsoft, Internet Explorer, and Apple browsers on Mac OS X and iOS); WebM files for browsers that have not historically supported MP4 (Firefox and Opera); and Quicktime and Windows Media files that users can download and play on their own computers (these versions are open captioned and audio described).
- Prepare for Video Search. Our final step is to save all materials to our web and media servers, then tell the Video Search application where to find these materials by completing a simple behind-the-scenes web form developed for DO-IT staff. Once the Video Search application knows about the new video it is immediately available on the website.
Is the DO-IT Video Search source code available?
The source code for our website is not presently available since it is highly specialized for the unique characteristics of DO-IT's video collection. However, as noted above the media player itself is open source and freely available. Please see Question 5.
Who do I contact with feedback or suggestions?
We welcome and encourage your feedback related to this or any other feature of the DO-IT website. Please feel free to contact us by phone or email, both of which are available on the DO-IT Contact Information page.
What are some other resources on video accessibility?
For additional information about captioning, audio description, or other issues related to multimedia, consult the DO-IT Knowledge Base. A good entry point is the article How do I make multimedia accessible?