2004 Conference Proceedings

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ACCESSIBLE RICH MEDIA: UPDATE ON POSSIBILTIES AND LIMITATIONS

Presenter

Andrew Kirkpatrick
WGBH National Center for Accessible Media
125 Western Avenue
Boston, MA 02134
Phone: 617-300-4420
Email: andrew_kirkpatrick@wgbh.org

Introduction

NCAM

The CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) is a research and development facility dedicated to issues of media technology for disabled people in their homes, schools, workplaces, and communities. NCAM's mission is to expand access to present and future media for people with disabilities; to explore how existing access technologies may benefit other populations; to represent its constituents in industry, policy and legislative circles; and to provide access to educational and media technologies for special needs students.

NCAM Projects Addressing Rich Media

The Access to Rich Media project reached its conclusion in September of 2003. This project established a resource center for developers of rich media interested in making their media accessible and also developed version 2 of MAGpie, a free tool for creating captions and audio descriptions for rich media.

NCAM has projects with the League for Innovation in Community Colleges and the National Science Digital Library, both of which address rich media accessibility issues using what has been learned in the Access to Rich Media project. In addition, NCAM also works with its strategic partners, such as AOL, Macromedia, and IBM, to address rich media accessibility issues in an ongoing manner within the corporate world.

Attendees will:
*sum* Learn about resources available to assist efforts to make rich media accessible
*sum* Learn about specific issues with making media accessible for people with specific sensory disabilities o Captioning issues o Real-time captioning issues o Audio description issues o Screen reader support issues o Screen magnification issues
*sum* Learn about ongoing initiatives related to rich media accessibility *sum* Experience examples of accessible rich media, including Flash, QuickTime, Real, MPEG4, PDF, Windows Media, SVG, and more.
*sum* Develop a vision for what important work remains undone in making rich media accessible.

Conclusion

Much progress has been made in the past few years. The Section 508 regulations have increased the amount of amount of captioned and described rich media available, and since the release of SMIL 2.0 as a W3C recommendation modifications to SMIL players have been made. Even with legislation and a higher level of tool availability for making accessible media, accessible media will not become the norm until developers understand how to make media that is accessible. Significant increases in developer awareness are evident today, but as computer and device interfaces become increasingly rich-media based, the drive toward making rich media accessible is more important than ever as a focus of research.

References

CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media: http://ncam.wgbh.org

Rich Media Accessibility Web site: http://ncam.wgbh.org/richmedia

The Access to Rich Media project funding was provided by NIDRR, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/NIDRR) in the U.S. department of Education.

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