Podcasts are getting ever more popular on the web and for good reason. They’re a portable easy way for many of us to keep up with what’s going on whilst on the move as well as a welcome alternative to wasting trees by printing things off to read on the train. Listening to podcasts from South by Southwest 2007 (SXSW), Web Axe and Equal Access to Software and information have provided a welcome distraction for me whilst wedged in between disgruntled commuters on the way home (and also a lot easier than reading a paper).
For many people it’s also their preferred format when sourcing information. When meeting with Hidden Differences last week, an organisation that represents people with cognitive and reading problems, they talked about how when canvassing a large organisation’s employees recently on their preferred format for internal communications around a third opted for audio. Interesting.
However for some of us listening to podcasts it is not an option. If you’re deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, do not have a soundcard or speakers you’ll be locked out of content if it is only provided in audio format. Not only that so too will search engines. The guidance therefore, according to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, is to provide a transcript of what’s being said.
Getting a good quality text transcript is not always as easy as it seems though. Just published in the Web Access Centre I look at overcoming the challenge of podcast transcription.