Last Reviewed 07/19/2013

Versions 6.0, 6.1

Issue

This article describes screen reader support in Mediasite as well as considerations when using them.

Solution

For the visually impaired, assistive technology (AT) can be used to access Mediasite content and controls in players and catalogs. Specifically, screen readers such as Window-Eyes and JAWS can be used with players and catalogs. Mediasite provides a screen reader layout for players and both applications have keyboard shortcuts.

There is also support for slide titles and descriptions. Slide descriptions are text representations of slide content that are displayed in place of slide images and can be read by screen readers. All players support presentations with slide descriptions added, so no additional configuration is required.

Screen reader support   

Ctrl-Z displays players in the screen reader layout, which has been designed specifically for use with screen readers. Once a user displays a player in the screen reader layout, a cookie is stored on the user’s computer that forces successive presentations to be played back using this layout.
For catalogs, we suggest using the mobile catalog layout with screen readers since it uses a simplified layout that is easy to navigate. In both applications, the keyboard is used to access player controls, links, slide titles, etc. Button and control text are voiced in the screen reader as they gain focus. When a control is voiced, users press the Enter key to select it.

Considerations when using screen readers

There are some limitations to what slide descriptions can provide visually impaired users. Therefore, it is important when delivering content for rich media presentations to let presenters know they are serving a broad audience. To make the experience better for those using assistive technology, presenters must be as descriptive as possible when referring to presentation support materials. For example, presenters should describe the content of each slide or at least make it clear that they are describing the slide at some point in the audio and indicate slide changes.

Additional considerations

While testing various screen readers, Sonic Foundry formulated these additional considerations:
  • If a presentation or catalog is secured, users must log into the Mediasite system before they can view a presentation in a player or browse a catalog.
  • When creating catalogs for use with screen readers, we suggest using the mobile layout because of its simplicity and ease of navigation.
  • When using a screen reader while viewing a presentation, the screen reader’s audio could potentially interfere with the presentation’s audio. 

Comments

There are many resources available that provide general considerations when delivering rich media content to those using assistive technology, including:

WCAG 2.0 Checklist
http://webaim.org/standards/wcag/checklist

WebAIM Section 508 Checklist
http://www.webaim.org/standards/508/checklist

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