Closed Captioning for Web Videos

No Comments » Written on June 23rd, 2010 by
Categories: accessibility, Video

Apparently the issue of web site accessibility and multimedia content on web pages has gotten a lot of attention lately. There is currently a bill before Congress that would make closed captioning mandatory for any web video that also appears on TV.

Right now, if this bill became law, it would only affect the major players of web-based video. But, it could eventually filter down to smaller operations as well. Some web sites like YouTube use voice recognition software to produce closed captioning, but it is still very inaccurate. To manually transcribe one hour of video costs approximately $90 (this works out to about $1.50/min). And, there are some technical hurdles that must cleared to synchronize the text with the video.

The Federal 508 web site accessibility guidelines state the following for multimedia content:

(b) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.

(k) A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a web site comply with the provisions of this part, when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes.

All web content authors should keep this issue on their radar, as it is certainly going to become a bigger one as web video becomes more and more popular.

YouTube Solves Accessibility Problems in Video

No Comments » Written on November 20th, 2009 by
Categories: Google, Video, YouTube

There is no debate that web video has revolutionized the way in which web site visitors have consumed information. The problem is that videos are not natively accessible. This has left the hearing and vision impaired public largely out of this revolution.

While Google has offered a captioning service for videos uploaded to YouTube for a few years now, it still required video owners to add the captioning tracks manually. As a result the majority of videos on YouTube don’t have them and they are therefore inaccessible.

Yesterday, Google announced a new automatic captioning service for YouTube. Google is using their speech recognition software to allow video owners to automatically add video captions to their videos. This new service works by having the video owner upload a text file of the speech in their video. Google’s speech recognition software matches the text to the audio track and outputs the caption to the video. Since speechrecognition technology is still evolving Google is rolling out this service to a select few partners first. National Geographic and PBS are two that will test this new feature on their YouTube channels.

This new feature should significantly lower the barrier for video owners to add captions to their videos and allow a large segment of the Internet public to make use of those videos. If that weren’t reason enough, it will also improve the search rankings for videos that include captions.

How to create a link to a specific spot in your Youtube video

No Comments » Written on November 13th, 2009 by
Categories: Video, YouTube

Linking to a video on Youtube is a simple matter. But, have you wanted to link to a specific time in that video? This can be helpful if your video contains sections or chapters, and you want to allow your viewers to jump right to that specific section.

To link to a certain time on a Youtube video requires you to edit the link that Youtube gives you. But first, you need to find the time in minutes and seconds. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Go to your video on Youtube.
  2. Go to the part of your video you want to link to and pause it.
  3. Put your mouse over the round time cursor that moves when playing your video.
  4. Note the time that pops up, e.g. 2:32 (two minutes, 32 seconds)
  5. Copy and paste the URL to the video from your browser address bar into a program like WordPad. It will look something like this
  6. Add to the end of this URL the following info: #t=2m32s

Your new URL will look like this You can use this new URL in your web site or blog, and when a visitor clicks that link the video will start playing at your designated time.