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Are You Deaf?

Articles about blogging tipsNo, this is not an accusation but an invitation. As many of you know, when it comes to web accessibility standards, I’m in your face. Recently, Monika Thon-Soun of Webdesign-in.de and Texto.de reminded me that the web and blogosphere is filling up with sights and sounds that the visually and hearing impaired can’t access, or have trouble accessing. In particular, she pointed me towards the hard-of-hearing who can’t listen to podcasts nor hear the action on a video.

So much of our focus on web accessibility standards is aimed towards the visually impaired, but it’s time to give some thought to the hearing impaired.

If you are hearing impaired, would you please share with us your insights on how you use the web and blogs and how they hinder or help your online experience.

For those of us who can hear, try spending a day with your speakers disconnected. What is the blogosphere like without the ability to hear it?

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, the author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.

8 Comments

  1. Posted February 6, 2008 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    For my theater podcast (http://www.showbizradio.net – shameless plug) we provide a full transcript for every episode, which are usually 5 to 8 minutes, but occasionally 30 minutes). We use an application called Transcriva, from Bartas Technologies. Creating a transcript also helps us with search engines, as all that audio content can’t effectively be indexed. It is a significant commitment to post the transcript, but I believe it is worth it.

    A side effect is that as my wife and I go out to review shows, more and more we are having people say that they recognize our voices from the podcast, but just as many people that say they aren’t allowed to download MP3s from work, so they simply read our articles. Having both text and audio is the best of both worlds.

  2. Posted February 6, 2008 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Actually, today’s title shocked me. Because I’m deaf myself. You’re right – a lot of stuff out there like podcasts, videos and the like are not accessible because either they don’t have a transcript available or captioning.

    I admit that a couple of vidoes on my speaking website does not have captioning and I’m trying to get my website designer to figure out a way to add text to it.

    Good awareness-raising post!

  3. bethrobinson
    Posted February 6, 2008 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    I keep my speakers off when I surf so I don’t have to deal with random noises. If someone posts a podcast or video without a clear summary then I don’t click on it. Period.

  4. Posted February 6, 2008 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I’m with bethrobinson. I practically never turn my speakers on; certainly not while browsing the web. Too many websites abuse their ability to take control of my speakers when I don’t want them to.
    So… count me deaf!

  5. Posted February 6, 2008 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Not deaf, but severely hard of hearing. You raise a good point here. I see around the web, a lot these days, many videos and podcasts and the like, which are useless to me, as I would have great difficulty in following along. It’s a bit frustrating, as they sometimes cover subjects that I have an interest in.

  6. Posted February 14, 2008 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Yes, if they mention the word ‘podcast’, I’m gone. I haven’t spent much time on video sites or playing videos embedded in posts – only if I think I have reason to be interested (eg when offered a link by someone who knows me or says it’s captioned).

    Of course one of my pet hates is to be offered a phone number (and no alternative way of getting in touch) by a support team – it’s not something you would find in a blog, but some commercial sites do it. I don’t use phones, and I don’t see why I should have to ask my friends and family to phone for me.

  7. Posted June 28, 2009 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    If plan to post the video, it probably be good to bring the subtitle or caption. But it’s not only for deaf but it can be great for worker who sneak to watch the video with mute on.

    However, there are vary group for deaf that who can hear or not with special accessories to meet their need. I’m just someone who cannot understand word. BTW, it was brief nice to meet you! I figure that you either love or from Seattle that I wore it on the first day in early time!

  8. Posted June 30, 2009 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    Please count me in for support of internet accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing people.

    I’m deaf and use the internet instead of watching TV. My time management is important to me, and the internet gives me more flexibility on what information to access than does TV.

    However, clicking on a news item only to have it come up a video that is uncaptioned is very discouraging and impedes my access. It also puts me at a disadvantage where access to information, tutorials and news is restricted compared to the access of my coworkers and friends.

    Go for it! Increase accessibility for the deaf not only increases it for everybody else, it also increases the flexibility of its use for all.


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  1. [...] Moment ago, I start to learn from Twitter that it seem that Lorelle start to give an opinion toward the attend about the issues with Deaf about a year ago. I find it very interesting. Check it out at Lorelle on WordPress [...]

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