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?
- How do I play the downloadable videos on my computer?
- 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 on other platforms and formats, either on YouTube or as downloadable files that can be viewed offline on your computer. 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 named Able Player. It is a free, open source, accessible media player that was designed with the beginning with accessibility in mind. 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.
How do I play the downloadable videos on my computer?
Most DO-IT videos are available for download in a variety of formats. The specific formats offered has evolved over the years. On the home page of an individual video, see the section with heading "Also available in these formats" for a list of files available for that video.
For most videos published in 2021 or later, the format for downloadable videos is MP4, which is widely supported by most media players. If the video is available with audio description, that's specified in the link text. All downloadable videos are available either with open captions (captions are part of the video and cannot be toggled off) or encoded closed captions (encoded as a separate track within the MP4 file). The latter can be toggled on or off in supporting media players. In some media players, this is done via a CC button on the player control bar. In others, the display of captions is controlled within the player's preferences. In others, most notably Apple products, the display of captions is controlled by accessibility settings within the operating systems. For instructions, see Apple's help docs on Using subtitles and closed captions on Mac and Displaying subtitles and captions for videos on iPhone.
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 on-screen text) that is otherwise presented only visually, thereby making that content accessible to someone who is unable to see it. There are multiple ways to deliver audio description. Our videos use three of them:
- Alternative video. Most of our videos are available in two versions, one with audio description and one without. Users choose their version using the "Description" button on the media player (visually this appears as the letter "D").
- Text-based description, read by the browser. Many of our newer videos have the description text written in a timed text file (in WebVTT format). Able Player supports this by having web browsers read the description text at the times designated within the WebVTT file. Optionally, users can check a box in the Description Preferences dialog that pauses the video while description is being read. This feature is on by default. The Description Preferences dialog is accessible by clicking the Preferences button on the player control bar.
- Integrated description. A few of our videos avoid the need for audio description by integrating the description of visual content directly into the video during scripting and production. For our videos, the most common example of this is when speakers introduce themselves by name and affiliation before speaking. Videos that utilize this method do not have a "Description" button on the media player.
For additional information about audio description, see the Washington State Audio Description Project website.
How does DO-IT 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, or we integrate description into the video (e.g., by having speakers introduce themselves by name and affiliation), thereby eliminating the need for audio description.
- Produce and encode the videos. Most of our videos are produced in-house by UW Video. Captions are added post-production, either by in-house staff or third party vendors. Videos that have a significant amount of visual content that is not accessible via the audio track are sent to a third party vendor for audio description. Videos that need only a small amount of audio description can be described in a timed text file (in WebVTT format) by in-house staff. If video content is organized into discrete sections, in-house staff may also create a WebVTT file that defines the start and end times for "chapters". Most of our videos are also subtitled in a variety of languages by our network of volunteer translators. For more information about subtitles, see the DO-IT Translation Project web page. The final deliverables include video encoded into a variety of formats (an MP4 for streaming online via this website) and various other formats for users to download), as well as timed text files (in WebVTT format) for captions, audio description, chapters, and subtitles.
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?