This afternoon I attended a round table. It was great, very interesting. When it began I thought that it was too bad because no fast typing was organised, and what of people who would be hard of hearing in the room? I could hear OK but you can’t take accessibility out of me I guess.
We had an online chat room to “ask questions”, so I asked if speakers could talk without hiding their mouths with the microphones for people who are lip-reading, and if they could avoid chewing their word – one guy was absolute terrible. Sadly my request was not transmitted to the speakers, so this one guy behaved the same for the whole show. Too bad, no fast typing for us hard of hearing, eh?
One speaker was not here in the flesh, and they had decided to use Skype. I’m not going to say that Skype is better or worse than anything else when it comes to online video conferencing, mind you. They had set the sound coming from him a bit louder, and to be honest it was almost painful because it was too loud. Trouble is, you never know when bandwidth is going to betray you. The guy spoke and spoke, and at one point he was answering a question and I began to wonder if I was the only one to not understand two words in a row any more. It seems not, because the organiser thanked him with a hesitant “er… OK, thank you, er…” which for me was obvious.
No fast typing, on either side of the video conference. Big, big loss of signal, not only for the two of us in the room who wore hearing aids. I expect them to, I don’t know, think differently next time.
In the end, accessibility is for everyone.