SIDN Fund supports our initiative

The SIDN fund wrote a nice article about our accessible video player where they contributed financially to the creation. We are happy to share this article that can be found on the website of SIDN

We have a shared responsibility to make sure no one is excluded.

SIDN Fund supports initiative to make video content accessible to all

Not everyone finds it easy to watch online videos or to hear video soundtracks. More than 1.7 million people in the Netherlands have impaired vision or hearing, and therefore need help with videos and soundtracks. Eveline Ferwerda, founder of the Scribit.pro platform, envisages a future where all public and commercial service providers take active steps to facilitate access – both in the physical world and in the digital world. And video accessibility is integral to that vision. With support from SIDN fonds Eveline has therefore developed a videoplayerwith built-in subtitling and audio description options. The player is available free to government bodies and other organisations.

Digital accessibility requirements

The Scribit.pro platform helps government bodies and other organisations to enrich their videos. They can add subtitles, create text alternatives and provide audio descriptions – voiceovers explaining what the viewer can see. All with the aim of making the videos accessible to a wider spread of internet users. As well as creating a more user-friendly environment for people with sensory impairments, that enables the video providers to comply with the applicable rules on digital access, known as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1).
"Videos posted by government bodies are legally required to have audio descriptions, subtitles and text alternatives," explains Eveline Ferwerda. "However, not all video players support those features. We therefore developed an open-source video player that makes it easy to add and enable accessibility features. We were inspired by a video player previously created by the national government. We went on to take the tool's development forward internally and make it available on line. Our video player is now fully compliant with WCAG 2.1."

Free, accessible video player

"Any company, government body or other organisation can use our video player for free. First, they can use our online software to compose their own audio descriptions and subtitles. For the audio description, we offer various synthesised voices, so that the viewer can easily distinguish between the spoken content and the audio description. Next, the content provider adds their text alternative: a written description of what a viewer can see. When they're done, they download the files and the accessible video player from the Scribit.pro website. Once the files have been added to the video, the video player is embedded into the content provider's website by manually adding a code fragment. Then, when a website visitor plays the video, they have the option of enabling subtitles using the 'CC' button, or audio description using the 'AD' button. At the bottom of the video is a pull-down panel, containing the text alternative."

"Making videos accessible to all is obviously socially desirable, but there are spin-off benefits for the provider as well," Eveline adds. "It improves the search engine ranking of your content, for example."

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Support from SIDN Fund

"SIDN fonds provided financial support, enabling us to develop the video player. They also got actively involved in building bridges between our project and complementary initiatives, so that we could support each other. SIDN Fund is also supporting our video accessibility pluginWhat we're doing there is building a plugin that automatically activates the viewer's accessibility preferences. So, for example, someone with impaired hearing who always wants subtitles doesn't have to manually enable them every time they play a video. It also gets around the problem that you often don't see the audio description button until after you've clicked 'play'."

SIDN Fund's CEO Valerie Frissen says, "SIDN Fund is committed to a strong, inclusive and accessible internet. The Scribit.pro video player helps to promote the inclusivity that we stand for. Scribit makes it easier for businesses and other organisations to provide the required accessibility. The vast majority of videos don't yet support subtitles or audio description, but with Scribit.pro it's now easy to add them. The project represents a significant step in the right direction."

Sign-language interpreter

"All of us have a shared responsibility to make sure that everyone can participate, and that no one is excluded. We therefore plan to continue developing our video player. The next step is to integrate a sign-language interpreter. We've already created a preliminary demo, with the help of sign-language interpreter Irma Sluis."

"Before long, I really hope that commercial content providers are required to satisfy accessibility requirements like the ones that apply to public service providers. Ultimately, we want to see YouTube provide an accessible video player, and all online videos made accessible as a matter of course," says Eveline.

Want to know more about what the accessible video player can mean for your organisation? Or download it right away for free? Visit https://scribit.pro/home/videoplayer/.

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