The Day I Realized How Important Accessibility Is

by Colleen Ando Creative Director

by Colleen Ando
Creative Director

I was flying home from a weekend trip visiting family on the east coast. After waking from an hour and half nap, I realized that I had another three hours to go on my flight. I perused through the Gogo inflight entertainment and started watching a program on Badlands National Park. I was halfway into my second show when my wireless headphones gave out. I forgot my charger, so I listened through my phone’s speakers and kept the volume low. But with all the airplane noise, I could barely hear and was afraid the sound from my speaker would disturb the rest of my row mates (even if they head their headphones on).

I really wanted to learn more about the Badlands! I was halfway through the program and realized that I wasn’t going to be able to finish it…Then it came to me — Closed Captioning!

You see, I work for Evia, a company that live streams, captures content and builds complete digital experiences for events. We provide full-service strategic solutions, and when we talk with our clients, we always recommend Closed Captioning. It is critical to think about making your content accessible when planning an event, and Closed Captioning comes in handy in many ways: for those that might have a hearing impairment or a language barrier, or for those that might be watching content and are unable to hear the audio without headphones..

Which was the situation I found myself in. So I selected the CC option in the bottom right of my screen, but it was not working. After a few more tries, I decided to search within in the Closed Captioning option, and as it turns out, my viewing options were cut in half. My interest in the Badlands had to shift towards a program about couture cakes. While still entertaining, it was not what I had in mind. I was limited and felt like someone was choosing programs for me. My preferred choices were removed immediately.

This experience reinforced for me the importance of making content accessible to everyone. I now feel like I have a new perspective when speaking with clients about the importance of inclusion when planning your digital event.

And by the way, I’m really hoping to find that Badlands program on demand when I get home.