Live Caption Chrome — an accessibility feature that helps people with disabling hearing loss

Xin Xin

Google Chrome rolls out this accessibility feature that instantly captions audio and video to help 466 million people with hearing loss appreciate audio and video content online.

One day, I searched for a YouTube video, and I saw something new, a live caption on the video, not on the video itself but below my Google Chrome browser.

And I said to myself, this is cool.

In the past, I have written about Alt Text, a feature we can all do for our family, friends, and even strangers who are either blind or visually impaired.

The web needs to be more inclusive. Remember when Twitter “forgot” about being inclusive when they rolled out voice tweets?

Live Captions uses machine learning to spontaneously create captions for videos or audio where none existed before and making the web that much more accessible for anyone who’s deaf or hard of hearing. — The Verge.

Enable Live Caption in Google Chrome

Google Chrome’s new Live Caption feature rolls out to transcribe speech in videos. - First spotted by XDA Developers.

People with disabilities make up a huge slice of the global population. Generally speaking, they are underserved by businesses and often get ignored when it comes to marketing strategies.

How do I turn on live captions in Chrome?

Google answers:

You can turn on Live Caption for media you play in Chrome.

Live Caption is only available in English.

  1. On your computer, open Chrome.
  2. At the top right, select More Settings.
  3. At the bottom of the Settings page, click Advanced.
  4. Under “Accessibility,” turn on Live Caption.

Tips:

  • When you play a video, to turn on captions, at the top right select Media control.
  • To use live captions for videos that autoplay, turn on the video volume.

Change your caption font size.

Customize your captions to make them easier to read.

You can:

  • Collapse and expand captions with the arrow on the caption box.
  • Select the captions to move them to your preferred place on your browser.
  • Change your caption font size.

To customize the font:

  • On your computer, open Chrome.
  • At the top right, select More Settings.
  • At the bottom, select Advanced.
  • Under “Accessibility,” select Caption preferences.
  • In your computer’s system preferences, select a font size.

Source: Google Support

WHO estimates that:
* There are 466 million persons in the world with disabling hearing loss (6.1% of the world’s population)
* 432 million (93%) of these are adults (242 million males, 190 million females)
* 34 million (7%) of these are children
* Approximately one-third of persons over 65 years are affected by disabling hearing loss
* Unless action is taken, it is likely that the number of people with disabling hearing loss will grow over the coming years. Projections show that the number could rise to 630 million by 2030 and maybe over 900 million in 2050.

What is accessibility?

Accessibility is the practice of making your websites usable by as many people as possible.

We traditionally think of this as being about people with disabilities. Still, the practice of making sites accessible also benefits other groups, such as those using mobile devices or those with slow network connections.

This is because businesses don’t realize simple ways to make their service more accessible to everyone — from those with limited or no vision to hearing impairments. By making your website accessible, you’re opening your business up to an untapped market.

1. Make sure your website is easy to navigate.

If you want people to trust you, you need to make sure your website is easy to navigate and has an intuitive design.

If your website is too complicated or hard to navigate, people will have difficulty trusting you.

Key aspects of a good website accessibility strategy are: It’s not that challenging to implement a good website accessibility strategy. There’s no magic formula for making websites accessible. It’s a lot of trial and error.

Therefore, most of the time, the digital marketing strategies you’ll follow will be based on feedback from your customers.“Well done! This is a great website.”Often people will want to say something positive or commend you for making their lives easier.

However, before you can respond, you need to know if they reasonably expect how much their website will assist them. For example, if you don’t have the option to use screen readers or can’t indicate a certain type of link to highlight, likely, your customer won’t be able to get the most out of your website.

Let’s go back to the example I gave earlier.

I had an email subscriber who had limited visual or manual vision. When I looked at the logo and header image, there wasn’t enough contrast, meaning that the logo would appear dark on her, and the header image would appear too small — both words would cut off the subscriber. As a small business, my team hadn’t spent much time considering accessibility for my homepage. We only agreed on this once I showed the website to other marketing team members and explained why it was important.

We spent more time trying to determine if it would actually be possible to make anyone happy with the product than thinking about how it would benefit my potential customer.

2. Use images instead of long, boring paragraphs.

Many entrepreneurs and business owners make the mistake of thinking that they should talk to their customers in long, boring paragraphs.

The truth is that nobody wants to read long, boring paragraphs. Instead, you should use images that are short, interesting, and engaging.

Let’s get on with it.

Goal: You want to create a landing page for your disabled customers. The pages visitors land on are a powerful source of traffic and can greatly impact your growth. Creating a page for your customers who have limited resources makes ideal sense.

Your customers are your customers — make sure you treat them like one! :).

Choosing designed type If you don’t have access to the designer pixel needed to design web pages using felt type, it might be possible to choose standard type fonts, which are already pretty common. Alternatively, you could create your own text with either free font programs or using a text generator. For a relatively cheap yet more usable option, I’d recommend using Google’s Fonts Generator (Currently available for Chrome only).

3. Get rid of background noise so that those with hearing impairments can access your content.

It’s important to make sure that your videos are accessible for people with disabilities. People with hearing impairments can’t access videos with background noise, making sure your videos are clear and easy to understand.

Users of screen readers, which are software that translates spoken words for users of screen readers, enjoy the best experiences.

Even if you don’t have a screen reader for your visitors, you can regularly test how your videos respond to people with screen readers. Accessibility is something you have to think about from the very beginning of every project.

4. Make sure that the colors you use are visible to everyone.

Color is important for design; it’s what we use to make an emotional connection with people. However, not everyone will be able to see the same color the same way.

People with color blindness can’t see as many colors as people with sight, and different color combinations will mean different things to different people. One mental mistake businesses make — mostly by designers — is to forget about accessibility because some people are riding roughshod over accessibility rules.

5. Ensure all of your links work correctly and don’t require any extra steps for the user.

This is easy to overlook, but it’s super important. If your links require a user to click something else to view the content, you’re going to lose them very quickly. Assistive technology accessibility is available these days. We have to continue serving everyone, not only the abled but the disabled.

Google also says Live Captions will work with audio and video files stored on your hard drive if they’re opened in Chrome. However, Live Captions in Chrome only work in English, which is also the case on mobile. — The Verge.

Technology is a double-edged sword that must continue to be used for the greater good.

How Can Developers Help?

In the gaming world, we should also think about gaming players who, at their gaming computers which are either vision or audio impaired, like everyone else, deserve the best gaming experience. This is accessibility. This is what the web should be all about.

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