Catering for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing may not seem immediately obvious when you look at a predominantly visual medium like the web - however it can be inaccessible to people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
This is because many Deaf Australians use Australian Sign Language (Auslan) as their first and preferred language. Therefore for some people who use Auslan, English is their second language. Auslan is different to English and involves using your hands, body and facial expressions to communicate with those around you.
So, what can you do on your website to help?
Keep the text simple
The use of simple, clear language (as known as ‘Plain English’) will help to ensure that people who are Deaf or hard of hearing can access the information on your web pages.
Provide alternatives to audio and video
If you use audio or video provide text-based captioning and subtitling.
Closed captioning involves transcribing the spoken language in the multi-media file into a written, typewritten or printed form.
Subtitling is different to captioning as it involved translating the spoken words into text that is closer to the language that a person who is Deaf would use.
Include Auslan videos
You can also consider producing Auslan videos with a Auslan interpreter which can be included on your website.
As an example, techfinder.org.au uses the Auslan interpreter icon to indicate to their visitors that they can watch an Auslan interpreted version of their website welcome.
If you would like more information on meeting the standard requirements set by the Queensland Government for audio and video files take a look at their CUE guidelines.
Or, if you are about to start a new website project or just want to audit your existing Drupal website for user accessibility, contact us today.