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Thread: Quicktime Accessibility Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Quicktime Accessibility Question


    This is my first post. I found this site through a mulitimedia accessibility site that I was just turned on to, but they don't have a forum.. so here I am.

    I am a newbie when it comes to web standards and accessibility and I'm in the process of building my first site that I hope will be completely compliant for the visually, aural and motor skilled impaired. I'm not trying to make it cognitive compliant due to the fact that we are a private college and we have a certain demographic in which 99.99% of our viewers wouldn't have an issue with that.

    I digress however.. Since I'm new to this I am trying to figure out how to make Apple Quicktime movies accessible. From what I understand from research (and I'm still doing the research which is why I'm here) Windows Media seems to be the best for the visually impaired because the buttons (and button "states") come labeled out of the box. I tried testing a Quicktime movie with JAWS and it didn't seem to be able to understand the buttons. However, another bit of research has yielded that as long as someone that's visually impaired realizes that there is a Quicktime movie on the screen, that they can control it with their keyboards anyway. I peeked at the code for the Dept of Justice web site and they (who are great advocators of ADA compliancy so it seems) don't use any fancy code for their Quicktime movies.

    I am in a situation where our college has been using Quicktime for years and we have a Quicktime server and it would just be best for us to stick with what we already have. Plus, I don't like using proprietary Microsoft products if I can help it.

    1.) Do you do anything special to make a Quicktime Movie accessible by labeling the buttons or their states? If not, is this acceptable?

    2.) Since Quicktime is so widespread, do people generally know how to operate the controls from their keyboards?

    Also, I did attempt to use Flash 8 for my audio presentation, but I couldn't get anyone to tell me how to label the skins that so easily drop onto movies to allow them to be controlled. It seems that Macromedia went through so much trouble to make this version of Flash so much easier to use, but only for folks that aren't concerned about creating accessible content. I know that Flash can be used to create accessible content by hand coding everything from scratch, but if I've got to do that, then that's not something that seems reasonable because I'm definitely a novice at Flash.

    Thank you and I hope to get a good answer or two! Feel free to lay into me.. I know that people that care about accessibility issues are very passionate about what they are doing so I hope that I haven't stepped on any toes. I just want to make our site the best that it can be.

    Thank you,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Wales, UK
    I'm not sure exactly how accessible this solution is, but I would use the usual code and offer a hyperlink to the file itself, possibly explaining the keyboard shortcuts on a help page on the site.

    These are some of the pages you may have read...
    In a world without walls and fences - who needs Windows and Gates?! - Unknown Author
    "And there's Bill Gates, the...most...famous...man in the...ah...Microsoft." -- A TV commentator for the 2000 Olympics.

    Web Design Faq? | W3C | Validator | Accessibility testing | Speed up your PC | Wura | Box Model Research

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005


    thanks Dave,

    I had not seen that first link about Quicktime Accessibility.

    It looks like I can do it as a stand alone player where I save it as a .qtl file. I'd never heard of that before. But I tested the keyboard shortcuts and they worked pretty well.

    Thank you for the heads up about that.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    United Kingdom
    Thanks for starting this off. I avoid video clips as much as possible, but I have one that is valuable for most viewers. But accessibility is a worry. I supose if one offers QT and WMP options, one has offered a reasonable choice accessibility-wise.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    I don't think that video clips should necessarily be avoided because in today's internet, people love to see video. We have it streaming to our cell phones and PDAs, but it really depends on the kind of demographic that you are seeking. That of course is what it all boils down to.

    I work at a small private college and the demographic that we seek varies from the 15 year old that we are trying to engage to get excited about our school to the 90 year old alum that we are wanting to remember us in their will.

    I agree that in offering both mediums that you can hit most of your customers, but unfortunately, for some organizations that's not necessarily a reality. Our college has been using Quicktime streaming servers (and Quicktime videos) for years. It's only after I somehow wrapped my head around converting us to be accessible that the issue has come up about what video medium to use. The US Dept of Justice (and other government sites that claim to be interested in ADA compliancy) uses Quicktime so our boss has decided that we too are going to use that based on all of the compiled research that we've done. It is true that wma offers the controlling buttons (out of the box) to be labled, but we try to stay away from such locked source proprietary software for the web. That of course can spark debates from here to China and it will probably always be that way.

    Well, i've got carried away a little bit here. But I feel that this is a good discussion and I would love to hear others' points of view. I only claim to be slightly knowedgable (sp?) about this process as I have just started down the road to accessibility. And I'm trying to approach with an open mind and to welcome all input and leadership in the subject.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    XYZZY - UK
    MPEG I would have though will have larger penetration though as long as you provide fallback or alternative material to the video, like captions or additional supportive text you are getting closer.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    United Kingdom
    I avoid video for 2 reasons. First: accessibility. Second: speed - even with broadband. Our company site is very specifically aimed at our customers and some professionals. They want clear information fast. 3 sec load time is good. 2 sec is better. 1 sec and we are getting somewhere. Often web designers and site owners love it. But viewers find it irritating.

    As with other things, what makes for good accessibility also makes for a good viewing experience for "normal" viewers.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    XYZZY - UK
    Of course video can also aid comprehension but like you say most of the time its more trouble than its worth.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    [QUOTE=kiwibrit]I avoid video for 2 reasons ..snip.. QUOTE]
    Valid points, but I think you need to ensure that video is always offered openly, ie through a labelled link, not embedded unexpectedly into a page. Secondly, as with Flash and Javascript, it needs to be an addition to the site, not an integral part.

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