Category: Media & Entertainment, Web, Assistive Technology,
Organization name: Accessible Media Inc. (AMI)
Launched Date: 2014-10-30
Who has created it: Robert Pearson
Problem statement and how the Accessible Innovation solves the problem.
Millions of pieces of media content are posted to the web every day. Most of that content is created for a small audience and it is created quickly. Often it is posted using a variety of different tools that can facilitate the delivery of that content to a social media platform.
A small amount of that content, typically that which is regulated with requirements to be so, has had accessibility enhancements applied to it including the captioning of the dialogue and the application of description of visual-only elements.
An additional challenge in offering accessible media content via the web is to ensure that the interface in which it is displayed is also accessible. A provider of this captioned and described content must ensure that it is displayed correctly and in a format that is most suitable for the user, regardless of what accessibility considerations they may have.
Tell us who is the target audience and how the accessible innovation will benefit them. Please specify the different target audiences groups and provide numbers and statistics of your current clients as well as what is the potential number of people that the innovation can impact and empower:
As a media organization with a focus on accessibility, we recognized at Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) that as we began to expand our original program offering, that interest was growing to have that content available in a format beyond our broadcast network. As such there was a need to investigate the options available to us when considering how to provide our accessible media content via the web.
Following an extensive investigation of the other work performed in this area, we made the decision to develop our own player, based upon consideration of the unique media content that we offer. Working with our development partners, Simply Accessible, the player was launched to our website at ami.ca in the fall of 2014.
AMI-player is designed to provide online access to AMI original programming that has been created specifically for an audience of blind and partially sighted consumers. Given the global reach of the player on the ami.ca, any of these consumers worldwide could be able to benefit from this innovation. As of 2012, the World Blind Union quantifies that group to be 285 million.
How is the accessible innovative solution different from current practices or ways of solving the problem?
Given the uniqueness of our content, being offered with open description, our approach to the creation of the player became more simplified than one which would require the ability to toggle description on and off.
We strive to maintain a high-level of compliancy to the W3C WCAG 2.0 guidelines on our website and as such we focused upon ensuring a similar level of compliancy in the development of the player.
Along with a straightforward interface for interaction with the user, the ability to toggle captioning and extensive testing using assistive technologies, the player once launched became the first within the Canadian broadcasting industry to offer accessible content to the viewer both through an accessible interface and within the player itself.
How is the accessible innovative solution new, different or unique in terms of the technology or implementation?
We have a mandate to make media accessible to all Canadians. To achieve this we recognize that media is available for consumption in many forms and that in order to ensure that it is accessible we must partner with like-minded organizations, such as Simply Accessible, in the work that we do as a not-for-profit multi-media broadcast organization.
We must also work with the community that we serve to ensure that their needs are being met and that they are able to access the content that we offer in a format that is most suitable for them. We do this by also holding an advocacy role within the community and through work with the AMI Research Panel comprised of blind and partially sighted Canadians.
In the development of the AMi-player, it was feedback by the community that ensured a successful and accessible launch of this tool.
How do you get the innovative solution to reach the target audience? Please elaborate on the your go to market strategy and which geographies do you currently work in and what are your future plans for marketing your innovation.
AMI-player is available for the consumption of AMI Original Programming content at http://www.ami.ca/
It is also freely available for any other Canadian broadcaster to implement as a part of their web offering.
What is the potential impact of the innovative solution on the lives of the target audience? Please elaborate by providing statistics of the current impact and the potential impact.
The target audience of blind and low vision consumers will be able to receive an increasing amount of described content through the usage of AMI-player. Using embedded description, whereby a producer understands the need to include description within the development of a show, providing online availability of this type of content to the consumer recognizes the prevalence of the move of broadcast content online.
As AMI is a Canadian broadcasting company though, thus far, the 4.5 million members of this audience in Canada will have been impacted by this innovation.
As stated, the innovation is currently deployed in the Canadian broadcasting market, however, given the versatility of the solution it could be used to provide accessible media from broadcast in an online format in any jurisdiction.
Stories of how the Innovation has touched lives.
“Because reading and being aware of things is very important and this provides an avenue for visually impaired people to stay informed.”
“Because blind and visually impaired people should have the same opportunities and access as everyone else.”
“People that have vision problems need to have the same access as people who have full sight.”