Universal Captions Line HorizontalUniversal Captions: Press Play on Accessibility

International Symbol of Deafness and hard of hearingHearing loss, or hearing impairment, is a partial or total inability to hear. Some people with hearing loss have residual hearing, which could be augmented with hearing aid devices. Other people, may be deaf and have little or no hearing.

Hearing loss can be caused by a number of different factors such as exposure to certain drugs, toxins or chemicals, genetics, ageing, noise exposure, trauma, or the like.

Stevie Wonder Grammys Speach 2016According to the Australian Network on Disability over 4 million people in Australia have a disability, being approximately 1 in 5 people.

There are approximately 30,000 Deaf Auslan users in Australia with total hearing loss and a staggering 1 in 6 people are affected by some form of hearing loss.

Obviously, if there are videos being used in workplaces, public buildings, medical centres or the like and the Deaf community are not being considered, then this isn’t an equitable approach and presents as discrimination.

Universal Design and Open Captions

Open captioning symbol, black background and the letters OC in whiteVideos are used in various forms in a range of areas nowadays. In a technology-driven society, more and more services and education are being moved into the ‘cloud’ or internet. This means that people have far greater access to information and services than ever before.

However, people who are deaf or those who have reduced hearing face the access barrier of not being able to fully understand the messages in videos unless they include captions.

Captions are the on-screen text descriptions that outline the video’s dialogue, introduce speakers, and describe all relevant sounds that are inaccessible to Deaf people and those with reduced hearing. These can be closed captions (meaning the viewer has to turn them on or off) or open captions (meaning they are burnt directly into the video, visible at all times).

video open captions. 

made simple and affordable.

Reliance on closed captions is not an inclusive approach in any environment beyond a personal viewing of a video. A person using closed captions would be familiar with how to use their preferred media software and capable of turning the closed captions on and off. However, in other environments, reliance on closed captions is not suitable.

Providing open captions is an inclusive approach that aligns well to the principles of universal design. These open captions can help anyone that is Deaf or has reduced hearing obviously, but they also benefit those people who are in a busy environment, such as train stations, airports, sports clubs and gymnasiums, cafes or the like.

If a promotional video is being played in those environments an advertising campaign might be missing its mark if people can not understand the message in the video.

Visit the Universal Captions website to learn more – www.universalcaptions.com.au

Alternatively, please watch this short video:

Universal Captions Press play on accessibility 3-min