The other morning I ran across a Yahoo news link:
I clicked on the link and it took me to a video with the headline, “Sign Language Opens Music World to the Deaf Citizens, Sat, Jan 22 7:31 AM IST – ABC News 3:08 | 652 views, Person of the Week Allyson Townsend uses YouTube to reach deaf audience.” I waited as the video loaded, was patient through the advertisement, and found, not to my surprise (I noted there was no cc icon for the video), that the video was not captioned. This deaf citizen was frustrated and disappointed.
I then googled “Allyson Townsend Person of the Week transcript” and found another link:
I clicked on the link and was taken to a printed news item, entitled “Person of the Week: Ally ASL Brings Music to Deaf Followers, Allyson Townsend Delivers Popular Music on YouTube using American Sign Language, By SHARON ALFONSI and MAGGY PARTRICK, Jan. 21, 2011″, complete with an embedded video. I clicked “Play”, waited through another advertisement, and watched (no cc icon here either) the embedded non-captioned video. Strike 2!!!! This deaf citizen was doubly frustrated and disappointed.
What geniuses at Yahoo and ABC missed the “Deaf Citizen” and “Deaf Followers” references in these news stories and posted videos without captioning? Do they think only hearing people watch news stories? Would it not occur to someone involved in this whole process that many Deaf/deaf/Hard of Hearing (D/d/HoH) people’s interest would be piqued by the headlines and they would want to watch the videos and would need closed captioning?
Sigh… a sound I find myself making often these days when looking for captioned videos online.
In all–and I did time myself by the stopwatch on my iPhone–from the time I first clicked on the Yahoo news link, watched the video without closed captioning (which included a 32 second advertisement), initiated a search for a transcript of the video/story, clicked on various news links within the search results list that contained no transcript before finding the ABC news link which did, watched the embedded video without captioning (didn’t know it was the same video until I watched it, and this one contained a full minute advertisement), and read the accompanying article, 11 minutes and 19.7 seconds had passed.
Geeze… all I wanted to do was find out about Allyson Townsend and how she was bringing music to the Deaf! For a hearing person that would have taken 3 minutes and 50.3 seconds of their life.
That’s more than seven minutes I, as a deaf citizen, wasted trying to gain understanding of a simple news story. In those seven minutes of wasted time I could have watched two other news stories in addition to the first video I clicked on, provided all three were captioned or I had the ability to hear. That’s not even taking into account that I’m a fast typist, an adept researcher, and basically know my way around a computer and the Internet. For a D/d/HoH person with less typing speed, less understanding of search logic, and less navigability that time might be much more!