Designing Websites For Deaf / Hard Of Hearing
Although it may not be immediately obvious how a predominantly visual medium like the web can be inaccessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing the following points are worth noting.
Many deaf or hard of hearing people – particularly if they are sign-language users – do not have highly developed reading skills. Sign language is a different language from standard written English. Some people who use sign language therefore have a limited reading vocabulary. The use of simple, clear language will help to ensure that deaf or hard of hearing people can access the information on your web pages.
If you use audio or video provide text-based transcripts and closed captioning. Closed captioning on the web when not directly embedded within the video consists of a link to a ‘script’ of the video – the link to the script should be located close to the video clip.
Guidelines for implementing captioning for video can be found at www.samazdat.com/pac2.html in an article by Mike Paciello. For more detailed information about web accessibility for deaf people, see www.weizmann.ac.il/deaf-info/cc.