Who's responsible for Accessibility?

Graphic of presenter asking audience "Who's responsible for Accessibility?"
Earlier this week I had an experience at the Apple Store leading me to wonder, "Who's responsible for Accessibility?" With a few days off this week, I signed up for a bunch of free workshops at the Apple Store. I began using an iPad for the first time a month ago and transitioned back to a Mac about a year ago and figured it was time to learn a few new things about my devices. I was particularly looking forward to playing with Keynote. I've always admired the visual ease of Keynote presentations as an observer. My roadblock came during the Keynote workshop when I couldn't figure out how to include/display captions for embedded audio or video content.

For anyone that has ever attended one of my presentations or trainings, you know my standard is to always display captions. If a video doesn't have captions or ones that are less than desirable, I create my own content or find an alternative. I typically use Google Slides with YouTube videos as you can display captions within slides in presentation mode. Not having this feature in Keynote would prevent me from using it or recommending it to others. When I explained my dilemma to Apple Store Associates, they did some research and could not provide a feasible solution. After some discussion back and forth, one associate explained to me that Keynote would be still be ok to use because anyone needing captions during a presentation would have an interpreter or audio support. What?!?!?!? Even if this characterization was true, (it's so far from the truth it deserves a entirely separate future blog post) this attitude completely misses the point. 

As educators, whether we're working with kids or working with fellow educators, why would you deliberately design something or use a product that would not provide the best learning experience possible?!? It would be like telling one of my teachers not to worry about designing their lessons for their Language Learners because it's up to the students to provide their own visuals to enhance meaning. Just keep everything super text-heavy. It's fine. That's just silly! All of the sudden you've created a completely different and inequitable learning experience by placing ALL responsibility of learning on the learner including accessing the content itself. The instructional leader has the power to make simple changes, such as displaying captions, that serve to enhance the learning experience. Educators know their students and design for their learning, rather than hoping someone else will provide the support their students need.

I was taken aback by this conversational exchange. I shouldn't be surprised by it though. I don't know the background of the Apple Associate, but it concerns me in the context of education and accessibility. There will be beliefs that will need to be overcome to make #CreateAccessibility a reality. Beliefs such as different learning needs will be taken care of by someone else as opposed to the primary teacher. Beliefs that accessibility is the responsibility of others rather than a shared responsibility. More factors to consider as I continue to conceptualize this project.


Any Keynote Experts?


Is it really true that you can't display captioned video in Keynote? I did submit feedback and questions to Apple regarding this but have not heard back yet. I find it hard to believe that this isn't possible. There has to be a workaround. Currently, I mainly house my content on YouTube and rely on their caption editor because it's so easy to use. But I also use Camtasia quite frequently and it supports the creation of SRT files. I imagine there must be some combination that would allow for the display of captioned content within Keynote. I did some research online and went down the Quicktime path but couldn't get it to work successfully. If you are aware of a method, I would love to hear from you!

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