When ever I have a talk; as casual as it may be about a movie/ web-series I saw on one of the OTT (over-the-top) platforms; I end up discussing the accessibility features that enable and empower me as a person with a print disability to derive the entertainment I need from what I indulge in. Later I realise that such discussions have no relevance or meaning to someone who has no physical impairment; simply because they don't need to think of such features.
Let's understand what these accessibility features are and what they do. I promise you that you will not regret the information I have shared here.
Audio Description: This is one of my favorite accessibility features; due to my print disability many a times I have no idea what is happening on the screen when there is no dialogue in context to the scene.
Here is a good demonstration/ resource to help you understand this feature better: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_GrYOruY7w
Additional reading and understanding: https://www.w3.org/WAI/media/av/description/
Voice Over: This is my second favorite; but has nothing to do with my print disability. A Voice Over is done by an artist who is like the narrator of the story giving good context to the plot/ story and building your interest to indulge in the content. Not to be mistaken for the screen reader that comes under accessibility features on IOS Devices with the same name. Voice Over artists are not only employed in movies but also perform in advertisements; reading of audio books etc. If you have a good voice and know how to modulate expressions and dialogues well with it; you have a great chance of becoming a VoiceOver artist!
Tips on being a VoiceOver artist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YKPxTvQQUg
Image Captioning: The internet and social media are filled with images/ memes and other image representations of various products and indulgences. For someone who has no sight perception; these images mean nothing and are read to screen reader users as image and graphic. Not having the ability to perceive what is the image about it makes it very challenging for anyone with a print disability who uses a screen reader to literally indulge in some information/ thought or engagement. Here is where Image Captioning comes to the rescue provided the owner of the image while uploading takes the effort to caption the image s/he uploads.
Fact: Google with AI is able to describe images on the internet; Facebook and Twitter have a provision to caption your image. Most images forwarded by what app. and other chat apps. can be made accessible by captioning the image before you send it. Image Captioning also known as ALT Text/ Description
Reference Reading: https://blog.google/outreach-initiatives/accessibility/get-image-descriptions/
Closed captioning: This is a favorite amongst persons with a Hearing Impairment; so what if you can't listen to the dialogues on the screen but you can still see the screen and read the dialogues and follow the story. This is great engagement and easy to implement to improve accessibility for the HOH (Hard Of Hearing) community compared to ASL (American Sign Language) which requires you to have a sign language interpreter on one side of the screen providing sign language support.
Fact: Often confused with Subtitles
Reference Reading: https://www.3playmedia.com/blog/closed-captioning-vs-subtitles/
Dear readers if you have used any of these assistive features on your smart devices; please let us know in the comments. It would also be good if you could share this on your social networks as it would help build awareness about them to a larger scale.