AMI believes in an inclusive society in which media is accessible to all Canadians.
This extends from the described video our audience consumes on television to the social media content they consume on the device and at the time of their choosing. Audiences that are blind or low vision want the same experience as everyone else and it is AMI’s goal to use innovative tools to empower its online communities with authentic and relevant information on all digital channels.
Seventy four percent of our community members are active Facebook users and 86 percent use YouTube to find and consume content, according to the AMI Research Panel. Social media companies are recognizing this growing population and are slowly introducing new accessibility tools to improve user experiences, but none of that matters if brands and individuals aren’t populating these tools with relevant content.
During 2016, AMI presented sessions about this topic at the inaugural YouTube Accessibility Summit, Social Media Week independent Toronto, the National Campus and Community Radio Conference and the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians’ (AEBC) annual general meeting. Learn more about the session entitled “Socially Accessible,” which is a play on the term “socially acceptable.”
Many participants said they had no idea that Twitter and Facebook have dedicated accessibility teams. Many were unaware of accessibility tools that those platforms offer, such as alternative text (alt text) on Twitter and closed captions on Facebook.
Content creators can utilize these accessibility tools for free and create efficient workflows to minimize the time required to add these features in every post. For example, a user can manually add closed captions to YouTube videos and download an SRT file within the YouTube tool that can be repurposed for use on Facebook. Although YouTube offers an automatic captioning tool, there are many risks involved with not taking ownership of the quality of your captions, including a poor user experience for people of all abilities and inaccurate or inappropriate auto-generated words, which could harm your reputation.
AMI truly believes individuals and brands would like to do the right thing and make their social media content accessible, but many aren’t aware of the tools that are available and how quickly assistive technology is evolving.
At AMI, we’re fortunate to have such loyal support from the blind and low vision community and we use research from that community to guide all of our decisions and regularly test our digital products. We’re also in the business of information sharing.
Join our discussion about curating inclusive social media or stop calling your digital channels social.
Like our Facebook page to join the conversation in our most active online community.
Stream videos with closed captions that examine local issues from coast-to-coast, get behind-the-scenes access to AMI programs and personalities and connect with other community members about accessibility issues and services.
Follow us on Twitter @AccessibleMedia for the latest on AMI programming, local events that we're attending and accessibility services in your community.
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Subscribe to the AMI YouTube Channel to watch our latest local video spotlights on your community as soon as their uploaded. We profile accessibility services and leaders from across Canada through stories told by local presenters in each of our regional bureaus.
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