One day, as I read on planet, I learned that Firefox would be supporting <video> and <audio>.
“Yowza! What about captions? What about audio description? Another uphill accessibility battle. No one is even slated to work on this!”
I’m skeptical is no longer The Mozilla community came through for accessibility once again. First, I spoke with Henri Sivonen & Chris Double. Both understood the importance. Henri is always able to help focus a discussion on the right issues, and Chris reassured me he will make sure that implementation happens, but we needed a plan.
Chris introduced me to Silvia Pfeiffer, Silvia is an experienced engineer with diverse experience in automatic creation of video metadata and captions, video hyperlinking, MPEG standards, Ogg and Annodex, as well as Web applications using Adobe Flash. She is an active member of the Xiph / Ogg community. She is extremely keen to solve accessibility issues for Ogg media files, and easy to agree with.
Silvia has an extremely cool hybrid German-Aussie accent.
Last week, Silvia started on a Mozilla Foundation grant to work with the community to develop a plan for accessibility support in HTML 5 <video> and <audio>, using an Ogg container. It’s a complex area, with many factors such as existing standards, formats and authoring tools, to be considered. Silvia’s recent blog entry does a good job at introducing the work and pointing to her wiki docs describing the requirements and background.
It’s not just a matter of implementing what exists today. There are opportunities to assist video indexing, support social creation of accessible content for existing media, provide new capabilities for expressing emotion, and more. Naturally, these ideas must be considered in the design process while maintaining a pragmatic view and avoiding unnecessary complexity.
Silvia has created the mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org for discussion. and you can also find her on irc.mozilla.org #accessibility as “nessy”.
P.S. Thank you to Frank Hecker for making this possible, as he has for so many other open source accessibility iniatives.
UPDATE: Silvia tells me that she has a bit of a Scottish accent mixed in there as well (she spent 1 year in Scotland).