Using Videos to Influence and Change Perceptions

I’ve just come back from speaking to a lady who works in the same company that pays my wages and who has rapidly diminishing eyesight - a rare eye condition has left her with something similar to cataracts, and a feeling of seeing everything through a heavy white curtain. The reason for my visit was to interview her and capture it on video, and ultimately the edited clip will be used in presentations that I’ll be doing within the company. Because it’s all well and good to talk about accessibility affecting people ‘out there’ but for many people these kinds of people are ‘mythical beasts’, so what better way than to show that "these people are here, working under the same roof as you - and they won’t thank you for not making your web pages or web apps accessible".

So it’s fantastic that as I sit here, with freshly videotaped evidence in hand, that I discover this set of videos on the web. Admittedly, these are promotional videos for AssistiveWare’s technology rather than a general collection of videos of people using other assistive tech, but it’s still darned useful for the likes of us who sometimes need to demonstrate to people the various ways that disabled users interact with web pages. I’d be more than happy for the likes of Freedom Scientific or GW Micro to take the same approach. More video resources are very welcome indeed!

[Note - I know that this is not a new resource, just new to me, as it was new to Roger. That's the beauty of using - I found it in the popular page for the accessibility tag]

Posted by Ian on Tuesday, October 16, 2007


  1. So says deborah

    I think it would be fabulous for many of us with computer accessibility issues to film videos of ourselves working, and to talk about are difficulties. Then we could collect all those in one place and point web designers and user interface designers to the video collection.

    Added October 16, 2007 at 2:47 pm

  2. So says Rob Mason

    This has got to be a fantastic way to bolster the “business case” for making a website (more)accessible. Nothing hits harder than real life examples, particularly if the subjects used are employees and/or customers.

    Added October 17, 2007 at 8:57 am

  3. So says Mark Magennis

    I think video works brilliantly in presentations. In my presentations to website developers and managers and I now always include a short 4 minute video of a blind web user using a screen reader to access a mainstream website - usually Yahoo! Sports. It’s amazing how compelling people find it. The moment the screen reader starts talking there is this audible intake of breath from right across the audience and you can almost see people come awake. It just seems to open their minds. I always get some people saying at the end that “the best thing was seeing the video of the blind person surfing the web”. If you want to see an example, I’ve incorporated one of them in an online tutorial on the relative benefits of user testing and auditing (see

    I’ve also made a short video of people with vision impairments talking about technologies - the ones that help them and the ones that preesnt barriers. It’s a collection of edited soundbytes (”this is great, this causes mne problems…”) taken with a handheld videocam so it’s got something of an on-the-street vox-pop feel to it. That goes down well too because, again, it very quickly paints a picture and helps the audience understand and empathise. Much better than me simply standing there with a bulleted list of good and bad technologies. Unfortunately, I don’t have it online yet.

    There is a challenge with making sure the video part of the presentation is accessible. For vision impaired people all the essential information must be presented either in the soundtrack or in your own accompanying voiceover. This can take some practice to achieve. Captioning seems relatively straightforward, although I hate to say I’ve not got around to that yet. It’s next on the list!

    Added October 17, 2007 at 10:53 am

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