‘Speak to each other about the responsibility you have as a municipality when it comes to digital accessibility.’

Gemeente CoevordenCustomer case
Logo of the Municipality of Coevorden with a yellow area around it. To the right of it it says between yellow quotes: Because Scribit.Pro not only has the technology, but also the knowledge and expertise, we leave our video accessibility entirely to its professionals.

Together with our customers, we are committed to an accessible future. We therefore find the cooperation with our customers extremely valuable and the personal story of each of our customers is extremely important.

In this series, we ask Scribit.Pro customers about their experiences with our service and our services. How do these organizations, authorities and individuals experience the cooperation with our company? What is their digital accessibility strategy and what role does Scribit.Pro play in it? And do they have any tips for others who also want to get started with video accessibility?

In this customer case you can read how the municipality of Coevorden wants to continue to optimize its digital services. Online Services Advisor Marleen Oost and her team delivered a new website at the end of March in which digital accessibility - and therefore video accessibility - is an important part.

The organization

Coevorden is a historic municipality in the southeast of Drenthe, which attracts many tourists every year. In addition to the fortified city, the municipality of Coevorden has 28 villages, with a total of more than 35,000 inhabitants.

The core values ​​of the municipality of Coevorden are pride, daring, individuality, bringing together and pushing boundaries. The municipality of Coevorden is a positive, optimistic organization with approximately 360 permanent employees. The municipality stands for courage and showing initiative: it does this itself and it wants to encourage its residents to do the same. There must be room for authenticity, customization and the human touch is always a guiding principle. The municipality, which is located next to Germany, wants to look beyond the border and push boundaries. In her role as a connector, she wants to bring people together and share information. The municipality values ​​good communication; both internally and towards its residents. She does this by distributing information via a physical counter, intranet, social media, newsletter, newspaper and her own website www.coevorden.nl. The municipality of Coevorden also shares its knowledge and experience with about forty other municipalities throughout the Netherlands, through the Dimpact partnership and in a BOCE context with neighboring municipalities Borger-Odoorn and Emmen. 

Marleen Oost works as an Online Services Advisor and, as coordinator of Team Online, leads the network team that was put together three years ago.

How did Municipality of Coevorden get started with digital accessibility?

‘The Dutch government is obliged to make websites and all content and communications accessible. Internationally applicable guidelines have been drawn up, the WCAG, that must be met. Everyone should have access to information, including people with disabilities. In 2020, we started preparations to deliver a digitally accessible website. We replaced inaccessible documents such as PDFs with accessible content as much as possible and we examined the options for accessible videos. We didn't just want to come up with a solution; we also really wanted to understand what digitally accessible publishing means.’

What has Scribit.Pro been able to do for you?

‘A video is an effective and appealing form of conveying information. Information is usually understood faster and better through a video or animation than a large block of text. But then the video must be understandable by everyone, including viewers with disabilities. In 2021 it became clear what solution the municipality of Coevorden had in mind for online video. It started with the question: what does digitally accessible video content actually mean? And what does an accessible video look like? To find out, I participated in Scribit.Pro's video accessibility training.

Through the training I learned how to add  support to video content, by providing one of our own videos with subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, audio description and a transcript. This led to the realization of what video accessibility actually entails, but at the same time also of what it takes to really do it well. And that takes time, especially if editing videos is not part of your daily work. Because Scribit.Pro not only has the technology, but also the knowledge and expertise, we have decided to leave the accessibility of our video content to the professionals at Scribit.Pro. Once we have made a video, they then ensure that the video is provided with all accessibility files.

In mid-2021 we were able to place the very first digitally accessible videos on www.coevorden.nl. With the launch of the new website in March 2023, we naturally wanted to continue to use Scribit.Pro's technology and services. We have had an integration developed that is available to all municipalities that are part of the Dimpact network. Open Online works as an open source website so that municipalities can use one joint system. Scribit.Pro has recently been integrated into this CMS, so that the municipality of Coevorden can once again offer video content in an accessible manner. It is now also very easy for the other municipalities within Dimpact to use Scribit.Pro for the accessibility of online video.’

How did you come into contact with Scribit.Pro?

‘My first introduction was through the training I followed in The Hague. However, Scribit.Pro had been in sight for some time, when the municipality of Coevorden was looking for a party that could help the organization make its videos accessible and publish them.’

‘Because Scribit.Pro not only has the technology, but also the knowledge and expertise, we leave our video accessibility entirely to its professionals.’

What does the collaboration with Scribit.Pro look like?

‘Once we've made a video, we send an email to Scribit.Pro. We place the original video on YouTube and we can send the link in the email, or place it ourselves in the Scribit.Pro portal. If we already have subtitles for the video, we will send that file. This way, Scribit.Pro can work on turning those subtitles into subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. In addition to subtitling, Scribit.Pro also produces audio description, an image description for the blind and partially sighted, and a transcript, which includes all important visual and auditory information. We will be notified when the accessibility files are ready for publication. Because we placed a piece of script in CMS once, we can easily place the link in the content management system ourselves. The YouTube video can then be played digitally accessible on our website via the Scribit.Pro widget.’

How do you like the collaboration?

‘The collaboration is going well. It is very nice that the whole process goes so quickly. We send an email with our videos and they will be delivered accessible within a few days. We really like that method. Moreover, Scribit.Pro is happy to think along with us. The attitude is very open and proactive. So completely satisfied!’

Any tips for others who also want to get started with video accessibility?

‘Familiarize yourself with digital accessibility and discuss it within a team or with your colleagues. Also consider what you are doing it for and for whom. That requires understanding and good listening. Look from the perspective of the user, in our case the resident. Think about what it feels like to be visually impaired or blind; what it's like when you can't hear anything or not well. How do you experience a video? How does information come across? Speak to each other about the responsibility that the government has in this and talk about it with your colleagues. Share information about digital accessibility organization-wide, or even with multiple municipalities. Share knowledge and learn from each other. You can post digital accessibility manuals on the intranet. Also indicate why it is important. Sometimes you will have to be patient, because awareness must grow. Another tip is to follow a training course, such as the video accessibility training that Scribit.Pro organizes and can also offer at your municipality.

I wish to investigate the experiences of residents more. Doing more research on your users can by definition be useful: how many people benefit from subtitles, or from audio description? Who uses support when watching video? This data can help us get to know residents better and improve services.This way we can respond even better to the needs and wishes of the people in our municipality and really be there for everyone.’

Learn more about video accessibility