First experiments with itext

My accessibility work for Mozilla is showing first results.

I have now implemented a demo for the previously proposed <itext> element. During the development process, the specification became more concrete.

I’m sure you’re keen to check out the demo.

Please note the following features of the demo:

  • It experiments with four different types of time-aligned text: subtitles, captions, chapters, and textual audio annotations.
  • It extends the video controls by a menu button for the time-aligned text tracks. This enables the user to switch between different languages for the different tracks.
  • The textual audio annotations are mapped into an aria-live activated div element, such that they are indeed read out by screen-readers; this div sits behind the video, invisible to everyone else.
  • The chapters are displayed as text on top of the video.
  • The subtitles and captions are displayed as overlays at the bottom of the video.
  • The display styles and positions are supposed to be default display mechanisms for these kinds of tracks, that could be overwritten by the stylesheet of a Web developer, who intends to place the text elsewhere on screen.

In order to “hear” the textual audio annotations work, you will need to install a screen reader such as JAWS, NVDA, or the firevox plugin on the Mac.

As far as I am aware, this is the first demo of HTML5 video accessibility that includes support for the vision-impaired, hearing-impaired, and also for foreign language speakers.

There have been initial discussions about this proposal, the results of which are captured in the wiki page. I expect a lot more heated discussion will happen on the WHATWG mailing list when I post it soon. I am well aware that probably most of the javascript API will need to be changed, and also some of the HTML.

Also please note that there are some bugs still left on the software, which should not inhibit the discussion at this stage. We will definitely develop a newer and better version.

I am particularly proud that I was able to make this work in the experimental builds of Opera and Chrome, as well as in Safari with XiphQT installed, and of course in Firefox 3.5.

Screenshot of first itext video player
Screenshot of first itext video player experiment