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Things I Learned From The Video Accessibility Expert Certification Program

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the Video Accessibility Expert Certification Program that is offered by 3Play Media, and I learned a lot of new things about video accessibility and how to create video content that is accessible to people with various disabilities. I was talking to my friend (who is a video production intern) about how this free course could help them with learning more about the importance of captioning and audio description, even if they weren’t familiar with these topics prior to starting the course. Today, I will be sharing my experiences with the free Video Accessibility Expert Certification Program from 3Play Media, and how it can help people learn more about ensuring their video content is accessible to people with disabilities.

What is the Video Accessibility Expert Certification?

The Video Accessibility Expert Certification is a free program offered by 3Play Media that teaches participants about the importance of incorporating captioning and audio description into video content for users with various visible and invisible disabilities, and how creating accessible video content can benefit everyone. The program is great for all skill levels, from beginners who have questions about creating accessible content to more advanced users who want to demonstrate their skills in video accessibility. After completing the program, users can continue to access the full course and reference course materials at any time.

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What is 3Play Media?

3Play Media is a service that provides audio description, captioning/transcripts, and translation services to make videos more accessible and optimized for the internet. While 3Play Media does talk about their services within the Video Accessibility Expert Certification Program, this course is more of an overview of video accessibility terms and why video accessibility is important. I have no affiliation with 3Play Media and was not compensated in any way to share my review of the program.

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How to join the program

In order to join 3Play Media’s free Video Accessibility Expert Certification program, users will need to do the following:

  1. Go to the link below for the Video Accessibility Expert Certification Program
  2. Join the Mighty Network to access the certification course
  3. Create an account, or join with Facebook or LinkedIn to access the course
  4. Access the course at any time through the Mighty Network link by clicking on the “Courses” option within the main menu and choosing the option for the “Video Accessibility Course”

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Who can benefit from becoming a Video Accessibility Expert

People from various backgrounds can benefit from becoming a Video Accessibility Expert- it isn’t just for people with backgrounds in accessibility or assistive technology. Some examples of people who can benefit from this free program include:

  • Students studying topics such as film, marketing, communications, education, theater, and journalism, or people who work in these fields
  • Content creators and social media managers
  • Bloggers and website owners who want to incorporate video into their websites or social media
  • Teachers of the Visually Impaired
  • People who work in video production and post-production
  • People who have disabilities that want to learn more about how to create accessible content

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Interface

The Video Accessibility Expert Certification Program from 3Play Media is organized into six different sections (or “tracks”) that contain videos and text-based resources for users to read through. These tracks include:

  • Track 1- What do you need to make your video more accessible?
  • Track 2- The power of accessible video
  • Track 3- Understanding your legal obligations for video accessibility
  • Track 4- Building video accessibility into your process
  • Track 5- Getting buy-in for video accessibility
  • Track 6- Video accessibility publishing matrix

At the end of each track, users take a quiz to show what they have learned, and have an end-of-session quiz in Track 6 that covers all of the tracks. After finishing Track 6, users will be able to add their Video Accessibility Expert Certification to their resumè/LinkedIn or share it on social media.

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Using large print/screen magnification with the Video Accessibility Expert Certification

I completed the Video Accessibility Expert Certification Program with the use of large print and screen magnification software, and had no problems with zooming in on text or using a program such as Microsoft Immersive Reader or copying/pasting text into another program as needed. When accessing the course on my iPad, I used the full-screen view of Zoom magnifier and found it easy to read text in this view.

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Using a screen reader with the Video Accessibility Expert Certification

All images and videos within the Video Accessibility Expert Certification Program contain image descriptions or audio description as needed, and each article can be read with screen readers with no issues, since they are text-based. However, TypeForm (which is a third-party program 3Play Media uses for the end of track quizzes) is not accessible for screen reader users, though I was able to complete it by using Google Lookout to read questions on my iPad. I would love it if 3Play Media gave people the option to use a more accessible platform for end-of-segment quizzes that was compatible with screen reader software, or if TypeForm supported WCAG standards that included support for screen reader users.

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Five cool things I learned

I considered myself to be very knowledgeable about video accessibility, especially audio description, prior to participating in the Video Accessibility Expert Certification Program, but I still ended up learning a lot of new things when participating in the program. Five of the most interesting/useful things I learned during the program include:

  1. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires that companies/organizations that do business with the federal government have all of their electronic communications and information technologies such as emails, documents, and websites be made available in an accessible format for people with disabilities, unless it puts an undue burden on the organization or company- something that can be very difficult to prove. This includes closed captioning and audio description on videos, amongst other WCAG 2.0 level AA criteria.
  2. Captions and subtitles are different- captions assume that the user is unable to hear and includes non-speech sounds, while subtitles assume the user can’t understand the language and excludes non-speech sounds. In some countries like the UK, the word “subtitles” is used to describe both types of content.
  3. Audio description can help people who deal with perceptual blindness, which is when they do not notice something in plain sight because they are unable to focus or have trouble paying attention, since the audio description describes visual elements the person may have missed otherwise.
  4. Besides people with vision loss, some autistic people can also benefit from having emotions and social cues narrated to them with audio description.
  5. Including captioning with a video can help improve search engine optimization (SEO), just like adding alt text to images.

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Final thoughts

I had a lot of fun exploring the Video Accessibility Expert Certification Program from 3Play Media, and even though I knew a lot about video accessibility going into the program, I ended up learning a lot. I highly recommend that others look into the program if they are interested in learning about how accessible media is created, or how to incorporate better design practices into their own content so that people with disabilities aren’t excluded.

Things I Learned From The Video Accessibility Expert Certification Program. My experience with the free 3Play Media Video Accessibility Expert Certification program, and how it can help with improving videos



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