Transparency in elections is a new educational platform for local elections observers. The platform provides educational videos to explain the electoral process, common irregularities and more. The videos are either animations or of a trainer explaining the content. Once the learner completes the course, they can present their certificate to the local organisation, attend a final live webinar and get their credentials to observe on voting day.
Videos can make your online learning experience more engaging. However, they can also erect barriers unless delivered with accessibility in mind. An accessible video includes captions, a transcript, and an audio description and is delivered in an accessible media player.
People from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community cannot follow along with audio in uncaptioned video content (live or otherwise). While sign language should be considered, remember that it may or may not be their first language. When creating captions for videos make sure to keep enough room on the screen and not to cover faces or other important content.
If your video format is in the form of animations with only music, blind and visually impaired people won’t have access to your content. Audio description is a separate narration track that provides access to any important information that’s otherwise presented only visually. The need for audio description can be avoided by ensuring all important visual information is communicated verbally. In a live presentation, speakers need to introduce themselves and describe the content of their slides.
Transcripts are text versions of the video content, provided as an alternative to watching the video. They should include both audio content and descriptions of important visual information. This benefits people who are deaf-blind, accessing the web using a Braille device; as well as people with slow Internet connections or other technical issues that prevent media from playing.
Accessible media players are those that support accessibility features such as captions and audio descriptions. For example, an accessible player can be operated with the keyboard alone, has sufficient contrast, and has controls that are properly labelled for assistive technology users.
Making online learning resources and events accessible involves more than technical issues; there are pedagogical considerations as well. When developing your content, consider using plain language. This eliminates understanding barriers for all users, particularly for people who have cognitive disabilities, low reading literacy, and people for whom the content is about an unknown topic or is written in an unfamiliar language.
Remember: Accessibility benefits everyone. For instance, providing transcripts, captions and descriptions would also be helpful for people in a distracting environment, or with slow internet.
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