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August 2018

Hello <<First Name>>!

This month you will be hearing from Rebecca Filippone, one of our Usability Analysts. She will be sharing some of her thoughts, interests and experience in the world of website accessibility.

Living deaf in a visual world - have we truly embraced captioning?

If you were to ask me what the most annoying thing about being deaf/hard of hearing/hearing impaired* is, I would tell you firstly, when people shout in my face in the mistaken and misinformed impression that this helps me ‘hear better’. Funnily enough, it does not! 
However, a very (and I mean very!) close second is the lack of open and closed captioning on visual media (open and closed captioning differs in that open captions are always in view and cannot be turned off, whilst closed captions are optional). This is one of my absolute bugbears, and one that arguably is unique to deaf people. My experience with some Hearing People is that captions are viewed as an inconvenience; one that detracts from their full enjoyment of the movie or TV show as it prevents them from watching all the exciting action on screen. Take it from me; it’s not a great feeling to know that people consider your disability to be a hindrance for them.
Thankfully, attitudes towards all manner of disabilities are improving across society and so are technologies to accommodate and improve access for disabled people. DVDs these days are nearly always produced with an English closed caption option. The vast majority of streaming services and catch-up TV have closed caption options in a variety of languages. YouTube has included technology that allows auto captioning while watching - this has had varied success. Anyone who has tried to watch with live captioning during a sports event or the news will know exactly what I mean! That being said, with constant improvements, YouTube vloggers (video bloggers) are now able to edit these auto-generated captions and fix inaccuracies. 
Social media such as Facebook includes captioning for some of its videos - unfortunately, as with YouTube, this has also had varied success. It relies on the discretion of individual users to include captions as an option when they upload videos, and not everyone sees the value in this yet. I have found that captioning on Facebook is always open - there is no choice on the part of the user to either turn captions on or off. Of particular interest to me is the social media platform Instagram (my personal favourite!), and the captioning options available with the app. I recently saw that one of the accounts I follow was using an app that allowed them to add captions to their videos. While I couldn’t find the same app that was used, a quick Google search has shown me that Instagram is lagging behind in the field. To add subtitles to a video involves creating a transcript of one’s speech and then encoding this to the video intended for Instagram. Rather a lot of effort for the generation infamous for living in the moment…
While I am grateful that attitudes are changing and more effort is being made to accommodate deafness, there is still a long way to go. Captioning is not universal and not always of even adequate quality. I look forward to seeing technologies improving and being embraced by everyone. 
*Just a little footnote about deafness and terminology: the culturally and socially acceptable terms are Deaf/deaf and Hard of Hearing. Hearing Impaired is no longer used in an official capacity as it implies that the affected person is ‘lacking’. However, when I received my diagnosis, this was the socially acceptable terminology and so I identify as hearing impaired and deaf interchangeably. It all comes down to how an individual wishes to identify themselves; if you are ever unsure just ask what is the best term for that person :)

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New Web Key IT Brochures

We are very excited to release our new brochures describing our services, vision, and helpful information about the importance of digital accessibility. Please go to the ‘Resources’ page and use the tab on the left-hand side titled “Brochures” to obtain downloadable (and accessible) copies of these brochures. While they are all in English, some have been specifically designed for our Australian customers and some for our Gulf Cooperation Council customers. Very shortly we will have the GCC brochures also available in the Arabic language. Please let us know what you think of our new material. If you would like physical copies of the brochures, please let us know and we will send them to you or bring them when we next meet.

You can contact us by emailing

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Perth Web Accessibility & Inclusive Design Meetup
21st of August, 2018
Dome Cafe, 149 James Street, Northbridge.
Read more about the Accessibility Meetup group
Or see the new A11y website here!

ACS WA Dennis Moore Oration Dinner 2018
10th of October, 2018
UWA, Crawley, WA
Registrations for the Oration Dinner here
TPAC 2018
22-26th of October, 2018
Lyon, France
Registrations for TPAC are here
OZeWAI 2018
21-23rd of November, 2018
ABC Studios, Sydney
Proposals for presentations at OZeWAI can be submitted until 1st of September, 2018
Register for OZeWAI or submit a proposal here

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If you haven't already, take a look at our Facebook page for daily updates and some excellent accessibility articles and resources, there really is a lot on there. We also have a Twitter feed, as well as LinkedIn. All these links are below for future reference, so have a click around, and share this with your friends.

Please do remember to take a moment to look at our website and as always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts, comments and any feedback you may have!
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