Last week’s TPAC (2009 W3C Technical Plenary / Advisory Committee) meetings were my second time at a TPAC and I found myself becoming highly involved with the progress on accessibility on the HTML5 video element. There were in particular two meetings of high relevanct: the Video Accessibility workshop and Friday’s HTML5 breakout group on the video element.
HTML5 Video Accessibility Workshop
The week started on Sunday with the “HTML5 Video Accessibility workshop” at Stanford University, organised by John Foliot and Dave Singer. They brought together a substantial number of people all representing a variety of interest groups. Everyone got their chance to present their viewpoint – check out the minutes of the meeting for a complete transcript.
The list of people and their discussion topics were as follows:
- Janina Sajka, chair of WAI Protocols and Formats: represented the vision-impaired community and expressed requirements for a deeply controllable access interface to audio-visual content, preferably in a structured manner similar to DAISY.
- Sally Cain, RNIB, Member of W3C PF group: expressed a deep need for audio descriptions, which are often overlooked besides captions.
- Ken Harrenstien, Google: has worked on captioning support for video.google and YouTube and shared his experiences, e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRS8MkLhQmM, and automated translation.
- Victor Tsaran, Yahoo! Accessibility Manager: joined for a short time out of interest.
- John Foliot, professor at Stanford Uni: showed a captioning service that he set up at Stanford University to enable lecturers to publish more accessible video – it uses humans for transcription, but automated tools to time-align, and provides a Web interface to the staff.
- Matt May, Adobe: shared what Adobe learnt about accessibility in Flash – in particular that an instream-only approach to captions was a naive approach and that external captions are much more flexible, extensible, and can fit into current workflows.
- Frank Olivier, Microsoft: attended to listen and learn.
- Pierre-Antoine Champin from Liris (France), who was not able to attend, sent a video about their research work on media accessibility using automatic and manual annotation.
- Hironobu Takagi, IBM Labs Tokyo, general chair for W4A: demonstrated a text-based audio description system combined with a high-quality, almost human-sounding speech synthesizer.
- Dick Bulterman, Researcher at CWI in Amsterdam, co-chair of SYMM (group at W3C doing SMIL): reported on 14 years of experience with multimedia presentations and SMIL (slides) and the need to make temporal and spatial synchronisation explicit to be able to do the complex things.
- Joakim S