Universal accessibility is an issue that must be addressed when creating content for students at the CSU. Currently web browsers with screen reader technology provide visually impared users a way to access most online content, but it is up to the content provider to ensure that the media being podcast is useful to all, particularly those with hearing or vision imparement.
To allow all users to benefit from online media files, particularly audio recordings which present a challenge to hearing impared users the following steps can be taken.
- A transcript of spoken content can be inserted into the lyrics field of the metadata of the audio files. This has the added advantage of allowing the audio file to be indexed for full-text searching.
- The audio file can be enhanced with images conveying comparable material to the audio content. The audio-book file format provides a mechanism for embedding images into mp3 files. Programs like the shareware program “profcast” automate this process by capturing images from powerpoint presentations and syncing them with the audio recorded during the presentation.
- Written notes that convey the same material as an audio file can be placed online as an alternative to the audio file. In particular when distributing content via podcasts PDF files can be podcast along with mp3 files so that the same material is available in mulitple formats that allow universal access.