[whatwg] Thoughts on video accessibility

Silvia Pfeiffer silviapfeiffer1 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 16 06:28:43 PDT 2009

On Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 10:31 PM, David Singer<singer at apple.com> wrote:
> Thanks for the analysis, but two pieces of feedback:
> 1) Though sub-titles and captions are the most common accessibility issue
> for audio/video content, they are not the only one.  There are people:
>  -- who cannot see, and need audio description of video
>  -- who cannot hear, and prefer sign language
>  -- who have vision issues and prefer high or low contrast video
>  -- who have audio issues and prefer audio that lacks background music,
> noise, etc.
> This is only a partial list.  Note that some content is only available with
> open captions (aka burned-in).  Clearly sub-optimal, but better than
> nothing.

Agreed. Plus there is time-aligned textual markup that is not just
subtitles, captions, lyrics and karaoke: much is being talked about
timed metadata these days, and clickable regions, as well as spatial
and temporal notes.

The lowest hanging fruit for such time-aligned text are, however,
indeed subtitles and captions.

> 2) I think the environment can and should help select and configure type-1
> resources, where it can.  It shouldn't need to be always a manual step by
> the user interacting with the media player.  That is, I don't see why we
> cannot have the markup express "this source is better for people who have
> accessibility need X" (probably as a media query).  However, media queries
> are CSS, not HTML...

Would you mind providing an example that demonstrates the use of media
queries? I cannot currently imagine what that could look like and how
it could work. Feels free to use CSS in addition to any require HTML
(and javascript?). Since I cannot imagine what that would look like
and how it could work, I cannot start to understand it as an


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