Deaf Awareness Week is an annual event that brings attention to the volume of people suffering with hearing impairments, the support and lack of support available to those affected, and how we can all help those with hearing loss.
In the UK alone, there are more than 11 million people living with some form of hearing loss, whether it is mild or profound (Public Health Matters, 2019). Deafness and hearing loss can mean different things to different people, and different words and terms are used to describe varying types of deafness or hearing loss.
With increasing online activity, accessibility for people with varying needs to be at the forefront of our minds. So, in light of Deaf Awareness Week, we’re going to share 3 of our top tips for ensuring online accessibility when producing digital content. From website management to your own social media accounts, there are ways you can ensure accessibility.
- Transcripts for audio and video content:
Providing transcripts is good practice in itself: it makes text content easy to skim, not to mention highlight, and it also offers SEO advantages for websites. For those who like to take notes, having text content available also makes this much easier. Automated transcriptions are offered by YouTube, and you’ll also find third-party transcription services online, such as Trint and Sonix.
- Captions and subtitles for video:
The most effective way to make multimedia content accessible to persons with hearing impairments is to utilise captions and subtitles. Many viewers of video content are likely to be watching from mobile phones in a public place (Think with Google, 2020), and so have the sound muted. You may have noticed that more videos on popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram are utilising captions and subtitles, and it’s likely to become the norm in the future.
- Sign Language interpretation:
Sign Language interpretation is more applicable to the business environment, specifically to those who are transmitting live content. This can be successfully used on websites (e.g. news websites) that broadcast live information and/or store broadcasted videos. This isn’t a technical application to improve accessibility, but it may be a part of the user experience a company can offer.
Now that there is a greater focus on accessibility, you will begin to notice more content being produced which focuses on this. Companies across the world are making an effort to do more than simply comply with web accessibility standards and guidelines.
So, should you produce or publish some audio or visual content – do keep in mind that it should be accessible to everyone.