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					    CENTRE FOR EXCELLENCE IN UNIVERSAL
                           DESIGN, NDA


Universal Design Guidelines for Digital Television
            Equipment and Services

                    DRAFT FOR PUBLIC CONSULTATION
              Feedback to Dónal Rice, Senior Design Advisor, ICT.
                            Contact: djrice@nda.ie
                     http://www.universaldesign.ie/digitalTV
  All comments to be received by 25 November 2011. Comment form available at
                      http://www.universaldesign.ie/digitalTV
    UNIVERSAL DESIGN DIGITAL TV GUIDELINES DRAFT NOVEMBER 2011


                                                       Contents

INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................ 5
Introduction ....................................................................................................6
      Aims and contexts of use ................................................................................... 6

About Universal Design of Television Services and Equipment ...............7
      Complexity ......................................................................................................... 7
      Physical and sensory abilities ............................................................................. 9
      Language understanding .................................................................................. 11
      List of definition and acronyms ......................................................................... 11

CONSUMER EQUIPMENT ...................................................................................... 15
Introduction to Universal Design of Consumer Equipment ..................... 16
      Taking customers’ needs into account.............................................................. 16
      Widening the appeal of products ...................................................................... 16
      Planning for universal design ........................................................................... 17

Hardware, connectivity and set-up ............................................................. 18
      Ensure that packaging is safe and easy to open .............................................. 18
      Include all essential accessories ...................................................................... 19
      Ensure that external connections are easy to reach, clearly marked and secure20
      Automatically tune in and number channels and inform users of changes ........ 20
      Allow operation without the remote control ....................................................... 21
      Allow users to select preferences on initial set-up, with universal defaults ........ 22

On-screen interfaces.................................................................................... 23
      Make navigation and menu selection easy ....................................................... 23
      Ensure that information can be understood by all users ................................... 25
      Ensure that text and graphics are readable by users with limited vision or reading
      disorders .......................................................................................................... 27
      Ensure that information is available to users with no sight ................................ 30
      Ensure that information is available to users who are deaf or hard of hearing .. 32
      Ensure that users know when access services are available ............................ 33
      Ensure that users always know what is happening ........................................... 34
      Eliminate the risk of causing seizures ............................................................... 35
      Allow individual users to quickly configure the user interface according to their needs
      and preferences ............................................................................................... 35

Remote controls ........................................................................................... 36
      Ensure that the remote control is as simple as possible, given the required functionality
      ......................................................................................................................... 36
      Ensure that the remote control can be used with low physical effort ................. 38
      Ensure that the remote control can be used by people with limited vision ........ 41
      Ensure that the remote control can be used without requiring sight .................. 42
      Ensure that the remote control can be used by people who have difficulty reading or
      understanding text or symbols .......................................................................... 43
      Provide convenient access to essential universal design features via the remote control
      ......................................................................................................................... 44

Access service provision ............................................................................46


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      Decode and record access services when they are included with a programme46

Spoken output .............................................................................................. 49
      Include the ability to speak all displayed information ........................................ 49
      Speak the appropriate information at the appropriate time and in the appropriate order
      ......................................................................................................................... 52
      Ensure that the spoken output is understandable ............................................. 55
      Put the information into the right words ............................................................ 56
      Give the user control ........................................................................................ 61

Documentation and consumer information ...............................................63
      Ensure that information can be understood by all users ................................... 63
      Ensure that information is available to every user in a form that is accessible to them
      ......................................................................................................................... 64
      Include as much useful information as possible with the product ...................... 66

PROGRAMME CONTENT ....................................................................................... 68
Introduction to Programme Content........................................................... 69
Text and graphics displayed within a programme ....................................70
      Ensure that the text is readable by all users including those with limited vision or
      reading disorders.............................................................................................. 70
      Ensure that information is available to users with no sight ................................ 71
      Ensure that information can be understood by all users ................................... 73

Translating, Subtitling and Captioning ...................................................... 74
      Provide translations in the languages of significant audience segments ........... 75
      Ensure that subtitles are easy to read .............................................................. 76
      Ensure that subtitles match the timing of on-screen activity.............................. 78
      Caption all relevant audio content .................................................................... 78
      Ensure that captions provide equivalent information ......................................... 79
      Adopt recognised good practice style guidelines for captioning where they exist81
      Test the quality of subtitles and invite audience feedback ................................ 81

Audio description ......................................................................................... 82
      Prioritise programmes according to the costs and benefits of audio description83
      Describe the most relevant visual content ........................................................ 83
      Ensure that descriptions are accurate and unfiltered ........................................ 85
      Insert descriptions between the programme sounds ......................................... 86
      Adopt a style that is easy to listen to and unobtrusive ...................................... 86
      Use language and a style of delivery that is consistent with the programme content 87
      Adopt a language and style that is suited to the audience ................................ 88
      Adopt recognised good practice style guidelines where they exist .................... 88
      Test the quality of audio description and invite audience feedback ................... 89

Visual Signing .............................................................................................. 90
      Prioritise programmes according to the costs and benefits of signing ............... 91
      Ensure that the signing is understandable ........................................................ 91
      Ensure that the signer is easy to see and read ................................................. 92
      Ensure that signing matches the timing of on-screen activity............................ 93
      Interpret all relevant audio content ................................................................... 93
      Ensure that interpretations provide equivalent information ............................... 93
      Use language and a style of delivery that is consistent with the programme content 94
      Test the quality of audio description and invite audience feedback ................... 94
      Flashing Content .............................................................................................. 95


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      Eliminate the risk of causing seizures ............................................................... 95

CUSTOMER SERVICE ............................................................................................ 96
Introduction to Universal Customer Service .............................................97
Guidelines for Universal Customer Service ...............................................98
      Develop universal customer service policies and procedures ........................... 98
      Train staff in universal customer service ........................................................... 99
      Ensure that public premises are accessible to and usable by all customers ... 101
      Use appropriate means to communicate with customers ................................ 102
      Where possible, provide personal assistance ................................................. 104
      Ensure that customers are aware of the universal design features of products and
      services .......................................................................................................... 105

SUPPORTING MATERIALS .................................................................................. 107
Television Viewers’ Experiences: Case Studies .....................................108
      The following case studies were developed using information received from users
      during the survey of Irish television users. While the quotes are actual, the peoples’
      descriptions have been changed to protect their anonymity. .......................... 108
      Case Study 1: A lot of things can be too complicated ..................................... 108
      Case Study 2: Audio description reveals the plot ............................................ 108
      Case Study 3: Deaf customer faces multiple issues ....................................... 108

Legislation & regulation ............................................................................110
Standards....................................................................................................112
      Worldwide ...................................................................................................... 112
      Europe-wide ................................................................................................... 113
      Canada .......................................................................................................... 114
      Japan ............................................................................................................. 115
      Korea ............................................................................................................. 115
      Spain .............................................................................................................. 115
      UK .................................................................................................................. 116
      USA................................................................................................................ 116

References & Bibliography .......................................................................118
      General guidelines ......................................................................................... 118
      Consumer equipment ..................................................................................... 118
      Documentation ............................................................................................... 119
      Access services ............................................................................................. 119
      Customer service ........................................................................................... 120
      Viewer experiences ........................................................................................ 120
      Miscellaneous ................................................................................................ 121




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                          Introduction




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                                     Introduction
These guidelines cover the universal design of television services, the consumer equipment
needed to receive those services and the content of television programmes. They are aimed
at broadcasters, consumer equipment manufacturers, programme makers and policy
makers. They contain guidance on how to ensure that television services, equipment and
programmes can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all
people, regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. They are applicable to television
services using any delivery method, including broadcasts via terrestrial, cable or satellite
systems, IP-based and video-on-demand services.

Aims and contexts of use
The guidelines are intended to provide a useful resource of practical information and
guidance for anyone considering adopting a Universal Design approach for one or more of
their products or services. Guidelines are stated in terms of required functional outcomes
that describe what to achieve, rather than mandating ways of achieving it. Many of the
guidelines include suggestions for specific implementation methods, but these should not be
viewed as constraints. Any implementation that fulfils the functional requirements can be
considered satisfactory.
In following these guidelines, broadcasters, manufacturers and programme makers should
aim to do the best possible job within their own real world contexts. It is inevitable that
maximising customer inclusion through Universal Design must be balanced alongside other
considerations such as cost, feasibility, functionality, innovation and creativity. Universal
Design is not necessarily in competition with any of these other considerations, however. It
can be cost effective, innovative, creative and can result in significant improvements in the
quality, capacity and appeal of products or services, making them suitable and usable for the
widest audience.
The guidelines are organised into three main sections:
   Consumer equipment: receiver functionality, on-screen user interfaces, remote controls
    and documentation;
   Programme content: text on screen, language translation and access services
    (captions, audio description and visual signing);
   Customer service: policies and procedures,             communicating     with   customers,
    accessibility and customer information.




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     About Universal Design of Television Services and
                       Equipment
There is an extensive body of literature concerning user issues with television, television
access requirements and universal design of digital products and services in general. Much
of this is referenced in the bibliography provided with these guidelines. In addition to this
existing knowledge, a survey of the needs and experiences of a wide range of television
viewers was carried out to inform the development of these guidelines. An analysis of all of
this work shows that there are three types of issues that arise for television viewers:
   Complexity, which mainly impacts on, for example, older people, people with learning
    difficulties, people with early satge dementia or people who are simply unfamiliar with the
    technology ;
   Physical difficulties which impacts on, for example people with dexterity, reaching and
    bending difficulties;
   Sensory difficulties which impacts on people who are blind or deaf or with varying
    degrees of vision or hearing difficulties
   Language understanding.
Taken together, this makes up a very wide range of issues that are experienced by a large
and diverse viewing population, including most viewers to some extent and at some times. A
universal design approach will ensure that such matters are taken into account from the
earliest stages of development so that equipment, instructions, and related services can be
used and understood by everyone regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.

Complexity
Issues around complexity, understanding and ease of use affect almost all types of viewers.
They arise across all aspects of the customer experience, including consumer equipment
(remote controls, Electronic Programming Guides etc), documentation and customer
services.
The complexity of consumer equipment in particular poses significant difficulties for many
viewers. In the survey of television viewers that was undertaken during the development of
these guidelines, a majority of respondents across all categories reported significant issues
with the use of menu-driven user interfaces, on-screen programme guides and remote
controls. Some typical comments about the on-screen user interface were:
       “Difficult to use. They should provide a simple, user-friendly card with a
       synopsis of instructions.”
       “it's good for me, but it changed recently and I don't like it as much. the guide
       isn't as clear as it used to be, when you scroll up and down the whole menu
       scrolls and I find it disorientating. I preferred the old one which just let you
       move the arrow up and down on the screen.”
       “Difficult, information goes off screen too quickly.”
These kinds of issues are particularly prevalent among the older population due to them
having relatively less familiarity with digital technologies. The following comment from an
older viewer is typical:
       “I find it difficult and am being told time and again that it's easy. Technical
       know how is very poor with our generation.”
Remote controls can also be complex:



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       “The buttons I can use, but if I have to do anything other than what I normally
       do, I can't do it. I use the basics. Each remote control is completely different.
       So I learn the basics of them and leave the rest to other people.”
       “There are different buttons, you get confused with them. There’s different
       buttons for different things.”
For people who require only limited functionality, the unnecessary (to them) functionality
creates added complexity which makes it more difficult for them to use even the limited
functionality they need.




          Figure 1. Two different remote controls from the same company, showing
                     different design philosophies concerning complexity.

There is clearly a trade-off between functionality and complexity in the design of equipment,
but for many users their equipment does not achieve the right balance for them. The
equipment that is being described in these quotes generally provides a large number of very
useful functions to meet the needs of a diverse audience. The skill of Universal Design is in
presenting all this functionality in a way that is easy to understand and use and whereby
individual users only have to deal with the level of complexity they need. In taking this
approach, it is useful to ask two questions:
   How can we provide all this functionality in the least complex way?
   How can we make sure the more advanced functionality does not get in the way of the
    basic functionality?
It is not just the use of the equipment that can cause problems, but the installation and set-
up too. This is where good documentation and customer services are vital. The following
comments contrast the sorts of negative and positive experiences that customers can
encounter:
       “Difficult to access specific information by phone. Marketing people do not
       understand the lack of knowledge of old people in the "press-button" age. Old
       people have poor skills in choosing in this digital age. Instructions too
       complicated. Lack clarity.”
       “If it was more plain English. Just ordinary words. You don’t have to have all
       the big words.”



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       “The service guys were great and tried to help me as best they could with
       totally inaccessible equipment.”
       “The engineer did everything. He also went through the remote control with me
       and explained how it worked.”
Universal customer service should extend to all of the interactions the customer has with the
service provider, including things like understandable billing:
       “So much information and detail it's hard to work out how much it actually
       costs.”

Physical and sensory abilities
Many issues arise due to the needs and abilities of people not having been sufficiently
addressed in the design of products and services. These issues particularly affect people
with physical or sensory impairments – reduced vision, hearing, dexterity and mobility.
These impairments are particularly prevalent among the older population.
Although not as prevalent as the issues around complexity and ease of use, these problems
can be far more serious, resulting in some functionality being impossible for some people to
use. Like complexity, all aspects of the television customer experience are affected,
including the use of consumer equipment, reading and understanding documentation and
accessing customer services.
Issues with consumer equipment relate mainly to remote controls and on-screen interfaces.
Remote controls are often designed in a way that presents difficulties for people with
reduced dexterity or grip, as illustrated by the following comments from the user survey:
       “Buttons too close together. Can press wrong function by accident.”
       “Not easy - I use a wheelchair and I need to balance it on the arm of it.”
       “I don’t use the remote control, I am not able to. I cannot hold the remote
       control or press the buttons.“
       – Guidelines survey respondents.
On-screen user interfaces can also present problems for people with vision impairments. For
people who are blind, the interface is almost completely unusable unless it features spoken
output. People with various forms of low vision also experience difficulties:
       “A bit crowded, could be laid out a bit better.”
       “The colour of the full guide (blue on blue) can make it hard to read.”
       “Could have better text size.”




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        Figure 2. Even a mild vision impairment can make on-screen text difficult to
                                           read.

Getting a customer service which is responsive to their needs can be difficult for people with
disabilities. One area that is often problematic is where the form of information and
communications fails to take into account sensory impairments:
       “I indicated that I was deaf, and to text me. They called my phone several
       times trying to confirm the order!” (Person with a hearing impairment)
       “They refuse to provide information in Braille but are happy to send the bills in
       print.” (Person with a vision impairment)
The following two comments, both from people with vision impairments, illustrate the
differences between a customer service that is set up to deal with issues of disability and
one that is not:
       “I found customer support quite helpful. I talked to the accessibility department
       who went through the process step by step to ensure that the issue was
       sorted.”
       “Customer service are not equipped to deal with issues that fall outside of
       mainstream. They pass it on to managers who do not respond.”


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A Universal Design approach would seek to create experiences like the former, rather than
the latter, by integrating diability understanding within the customer service function.
An area where Universal Design can greatly increase the understanding and enjoyment of
television for people with sensory impairment is the provision of access services – captions
(subtitles for deaf and hard of hearing people), audio description and visual signing. These
services enhance or replace the audible or visual content that some viewers are unable to
perceive fully. They are greatly appreciated, as can be seen from the following comments
about audio description:
       “I found it [audio description] absolutely brilliant. It's very effective when there
       are scenes with non dialogue and then we know what's happening on screen,
       otherwise we wouldn't.”
       “Sometimes you can tell what is happening by the music and dialogue, but not
       always. Also, as more and more programs are relying on visual effects to
       portray information instead of through dialogue, audio description is becoming
       more and more necessary.”
But where access services are not provided or are of poor quality, many viewers find the
quality of television greatly reduced, even to the point of it being unwatchable:
       “The feature I least like about my TV is the poor subtitles.”
       “I don’t watch TV online, there are no subtitles on a lot of programmes.”
       “I find the [record feature] very helpful but subtitles don’t be there when you
       tape.”

Language understanding
Issues around the understanding of written or spoken language primarily affect people with
low literacy and immigrants who are not fluent in the language of the country or region where
they receive their television. In some regions, this constitutes a significant proportion of the
viewing public. People with print disabilities or cognitive impairments are also affected by
difficulties with language understanding.
Difficulties may arise with all aspects of the customer experience, including customer
services and documentation. Providers of products and services should take steps to
become fully aware of how many of their customers or prospective customers are likely to
experience language difficulties. In order to manage this issue, they should at least adopt a
policy of making written information as easy to understand as possible, by following
appropriate clear print and plain text guidelines. Beyond this simple measure, it is a case of
offering translations where necessary and feasible.
       “If it was more plain English. Just ordinary words. You don’t have to have all
       the big words.”
The most notable effect of language difficulties is in the understanding and enjoyment of
programme content. The appropriate approach here is translation, using either interlingual
subtitles, dubbing or lectoring, depending on the audience and what is standard practice in
the region.

List of definition and acronyms
Access service: An additional visual or audible component added to a television
programme to aid understanding and enjoyment by people with sensory impairments or
language difficulties. Includes interlingual subtitles, dubbing, captions, audio description and
visual signing. Access services may be open or closed.
Analogue television: System of broadcasting television signals where the audiovisual
information is encoded as an amplitude- or frequency-modulated waveform. Used prior to


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digital television for terrestrial (airborne radio waves) and cable (electrical waves carried
along a wire) television broadcasting.
Audio description: A narrative voiceover inserted between the dialogue and other sounds
in a television programme to convey the information provided by visual content to viewers
with vision impairments. Audio description may be delivered as open or closed.
Audio jack socket: Used here to refer to a 1/4", 3.5mm or 2.5mm TRS-type socket used for
connecting a pair of headphones.
AV: Audiovisual.
BBC: British Broadcasting Corporation. The national public broadcaster in the United
Kingdom.
Braille: System used to present text for blind readers in a tactile form, using characters
composed of patterns of raised dots.
Captions: On-screen text included as subtitles within a television programme to convey the
information contained in the programme audio (speech and other important sounds) to
viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Referred to in the UK and Ireland using the more
general term ‘subtitles’. Captions may be delivered as open or closed.
CEN: Comité Européen de Normalisation. One of the three main European standards
organizations.
CEUD: The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design.
Closed access service: An access service delivered in such a way that individual viewers
can activate or deactivate it at any time, according to personal preference.
Consumer equipment: The hardware and software used by television viewers to receive
and watch television programmes. Includes televisions, receivers, set top boxes, remote
controls and on-screen user interfaces. Also includes supplied documentation.
Digital switchover: The replacement, within a country or region, of analogue television
broadcasting by digital terrestrial television broadcasting.
Digital television: System of broadcasting television signals where the audiovisual
information is encoded in a digital form. Used for terrestrial, cable and satellite television
broadcasts.
Digital terrestrial television: System of broadcasting television signals using radio waves
where the audiovisual information is encoded in a digital form. Uses fixed, ground-based
transmitters to deliver the signal to aerials at the viewers’ locations.
Dubbing: The editing of the audio track of a television programme to replace voices in one
language with voices in a different language.
DVB: Digital Video Broadcasting. A set of international standards for digital television
broadcasting maintained by the DVB Project, an international industry consortium. Used
widely throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and South America.
DVB subtitles: Standard used for encoding closed subtitles within digital television
broadcasts that use one of the DVB standards.
DVD: Digital Versatile Disk. Disk containing audiovisual content (television programmes,
films, etc.) in an optically-encoded form.
Electronic Programme Guide: Textual on-screen listing of television programme
schedules. May include facilities for setting up programme alerts or recording programmes.
EPG: See Electronic Programme Guide.
ETSI: European Telecommunications Standards Institute. One of the three main European
standards organizations.



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HDMI: High Definition Multimedia Interface. Standard for conveying digital audiovisual
signals along cables connecting items of consumer equipment, e.g. from a set top box to a
television.
HR: Human Resources.
Interlingual subtitles: On-screen text included as subtitles within a programme to provide a
translation from the language spoken or written in the programme to another language.
Commonly used to translate imported foreign language programmes into the national
language. Also used to translate programmes into the natural languages of different sections
of the viewing population. Subtitles may be delivered as open or closed.
iOS: Mobile device operating system used in Apple products (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch).
IP: Internet Protocol. The data communications protocol that underlies the Internet.
IT: Information Technology.
Lectoring: A spoken narration over the existing audio of a television programme which is
reduced in volume but can still be heard in the background. Sometimes used in preference
to dubbing, which is similar but completely replaces the original audio.
NDA: The National Disability Authority.
Open access service: An access service delivered in such a way that all viewers receive it
and individual viewers cannot activate or deactivate it.
parental controls:
Personal video recorder: The programme recording and playback functionality built into
many digital television receivers.
Phono plug/socket: RCA-type plug and socket combination used to convey analogue
audiovisual signals along cables connecting items of consumer equipment, e.g. from a set
top box to a television.
PIN number: Personal Identification Number. Security code used to identify an individual
user.
Plain English: Writing style using short sentences and avoiding jargon or complicated
words and phrases. To help readers, including those with lower literacy levels, to understand
the text the first time they read it.
Programme guide: See Electronic Programme Guide.
PVR: See Personal Video Recorder.
QWERTY keyboard: Standard layout of the keyboards used in most typewriters, computers,
tablets, smartphones, etc. to input text. So called because the top line of letters begins, from
left to right, Q-W-E-R-T-Y.
Receiver: A piece of consumer equipment consisting of the hardware and software required
to decode television signals and present television functionality to the viewer. May be
contained within an integrated television or a separate set top box.
RGB: A visual signal separated into Red, Green and Blue components.
RNIB: The Royal National Institute of Blind People. Organisation representing and working
for people with visual impairments in the United Kingdom.
RTÉ: Radio Telefis Éireann. The Irish national broadcasting organization.
SCART: A type of cable used to convey analogue audiovisual signals along cables
connecting items of consumer equipment, e.g. from a set top box to a television.
Set top box: Used here to refer to a digital television receiver that can be used to receive a
signal and convey it to a television or other display device.
sign language:


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Spoken subtitles: A spoken voice that reads aloud interlingual subtitles for viewers with
vision or reading impairments. This can be either included with the programme or generated
by the viewer’s receiver using speech synthesis.
Subtitles: Text included within a programme and displayed on screen, either to provide a
translation from the language spoken or written in the programme to another language
(interlingual subtitles), or to convey the information contained in the programme audio
(speech and other important sounds) to viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing (captions).
Subtitles may be delivered as open or closed.
Text-to-speech: The computer-generated spoken output of text, for people with reading
impairments.
TV: Television.
UK: The United Kingdom.
UN: The United Nations.
Universal Design: An approach to the design of products and services that ensures that
they can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people,
regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.
User: The person who uses a product or service for its intended purpose.
User interface: The hardware and software controls and information presented by a product
to the user, to allow them to operate its functions, provide inputs and understand it’s outputs.
User testing: Controlled testing of a product or service by representative users, in order to
find user test how usable and accessible it is and what alterations could make it more usable
or accessible.
Video description: Term used in North America to mean audio description of video content.
Visual Signing: The use of a sign language (one that uses hand shapes, movement, body
language and facial expressions to convey meaning) to convey the information contained in
the programme audio (speech and other important sounds) to viewers who are deaf.
Voiceover: Text-to-speech interface provided with Apple products such as the iPad and
iPhone.




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              Consumer Equipment




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         Introduction to Universal Design of Consumer
                           Equipment
The Universal Design of television equipment requires attention to all the aspects that are
usually covered in the design process:
   Hardware.
   Connectivity and set-up.
   On-screen interfaces.
   Remote controls.
   Documentation and consumer information.
If an appropriate Universal Design process is adopted, maximising the universal appeal,
usability and accessibility of the equipment does not necessarily involve a lot of extra work
or slow down the development process. For maximum production efficiency, universal
design considerations should be addressed from the start of the design and development
process, which may be as much as 24 months prior to the product launch. The quality of
‘inclusivity’ can then be treated as an intrinsic characteristic of the design, rather than a later
addition to it. This is similar to the way safety is addressed in the design of consumer
products. Making a product without considering safety and then attempting to fix the
problems by modifying the finished design would be very inefficient. Similarly, trying to ‘bolt
on’ accessibility features, for example, as additional features to an otherwise inaccessible
design can be difficult and expensive. It is better to take a universal approach throughout the
design process, ensuring that accessibility and usability is built-in and does not require extra
additions to the design.

Taking customers’ needs into account
A problem that sometimes occurs for television service providers is lack of control over the
design. For example, a network operator may be supplying customers with digital set top
boxes that are designed elsewhere. In cases like this, organizations need to work with their
providers, feeding back customer requirements and specifying relevant universal design
requirements within contracts and service agreements wherever possible. The network
provider may have a key role here, since they are often much closer to customers and more
aware of customers needs. The extent of problems that customers have with products is
often unknown to the developers. For example, a 2007 survey by the Royal National Institute
of Blind People of blind and partially sighted television viewers found that 22% do not find it
easy to change the channel and over 26% do not find it easy to “put TV programmes on”.
These are the most basic operations. In stakeholder interviews during the development of
these guidelines, one digital television network operator said:
       From the product design point of view we see this as good business. Where
       we’ve seen customer dissatisfaction is when we’ve overcomplicated products.

Widening the appeal of products
In many cases, meeting the universal design guidelines provided in this section does not
require extra functionality, just a more inclusive approach to the existing functionality. Many
of the features of a universally deigned product are not specific to the needs of people with
disabilities, but have much wider appeal.
       “Users and industry alike are convinced that features needed to provide
       access to people with disabilities are useful for all. Inclusive design, integrating
       eAccessibility features into mainstream technology and improving


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       interoperability with assistive technologies, is recognised as “good” business
       practice, in both meanings of the word.”
       – Industry Self-Commitment to Improve the Accessibility of Digital TV
       Receiving Equipment Sold in the European Union, DigitalEurope, 2007.

Planning for universal design
However, certain access features, such as spoken output, will involve specific additional
design and development work. For maximum production efficiency, these should be included
within the formal development roadmap and planned for from the start. Providing spoken
output is specifically intended to make the equipment fully usable for people with vision
impairments. However, even this should not be considered an extra feature that can be
bolted on. It must be integrated with the design so that the speech engine can access the
information it requires. An illustration of the need for this can be seen in the development of
the Sky Talker, a text-to-speech add-on for Sky satellite television receivers in the UK,
developed by Sky in the UK in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
Although it provides some useful functionality for blind customers, it is very limited in what it
can read, providing spoken access only to the channel and programme information, but not
to the menu system or the full electronic programme guide (EPG). Ideally this should have
been built into the system from the start. The menu and EPG information is not in a format
that can be easily be turned into speech, so the development of a full talking solution would
be far more complex.




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                  Hardware, connectivity and set-up
Although some people will have help available to help them during the initial installation, set-
up and continued use of their equipment, others won’t. In a 2007 survey by the Royal
National Institute of Blind People of blind and partially sighted television viewers, 75%
reported that they have not got sighted helpers. European demographic projections up to
2030 anticipate an increasing proportion of older adults, especially those aged 75 and over,
living either alone or with only their partner.
Being able to set up and use television equipment independently is important for many
people and essential for some. It should therefore be as easy as possible. A person who has
a positive “out of box” experience will potentially be more likely to buy a product from that
manufacturer in the future.
The complexities of connecting new equipment, tuning in channels and setting the required
display preferences can present a real barrier to use for people with sensory, mobility,
intellectual or cognitive impairments. Figuring out which cable connects to which socket,
fitting the cables, going through the set-up sequence, finding options and troubleshooting
problems can be difficult and confusing. Many people without impairments also find these
tasks challenging, particularly those who are not used to new technologies.
The less complicated the installation, set-up and use is, the less likely users are to
encounter problems that require additional customer support. Since customer support is
usually accessed remotely, by phone for example, this complexity can still cause problems.
Many issues are difficult to address over the phone. These issues are illustrated in the
following quotes from the guidelines survey about the customer support experiences of
people with disabilities:
       “I find I need someone else on hand to unplug etc. while following
       instructions.”
       “Impossible for a blind person to do so without sighted assistance.”
       – Guidelines survey respondents.
A report from the UK digital switchover technical trial showed that:
   Some users failed to maximise their picture quality by using an available RGB SCART
    socket. This was ‘too technical’ for most consumers, even if they read through all of the
    instructions.
   The level of confidence in attempting installation fell rapidly with increased age. 51% of
    those aged 75+ were ‘not at all confident’ they could cope.
Some of these problems are illustrated in a humorous way in the short drama Relative
Confusion by Newell, Goodman-Deane & Morgan, in which actors depict the experiences of
older people trying to set up their new digital television equipment without outside
assistance. The drama is available on DVD (PDF 115Kb) and can bee seen on YouTube in
three parts.



Ensure that packaging is safe and easy to open

Rationale
All packaging should meet basic safety standards. People with limited hand strength or
dexterity may also have difficulty opening fixings that are ‘fiddly’. Packaging that requires
excessive force or the use of additional tools (for example a pair of scissors) can be difficult
or impossible to open and may cause users to damage the contained parts. Relying on


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touch to open packaging also has implications for how easy it is to open. Any mechanism
that requires visual instructions will be problematic. People who are blind locate items by
touch, so will have difficulty avoiding touching potentially hazardous objects such as staples.

Directions and techniques

Ensure that packaging is safe (high priority)
Packaging should not contain materials that may cause injury, such as staples.

Ensure that packaging is easy to open (high priority)
Packaging should be designed in such a way that it is easy to open. For example,
perforations in plastic or paper packaging can assist in easily “tearing” it open.

How you could test for this
Run user tests with a wide range of users, including older people, people with disabilities
and people with low literacy. Ask each person to open the packaging and retrieve the
contents without being given any instructions other than those provided on the packaging
itself. Most users should be able to do this effectively, within a reasonable time and without
frustration. Find out how easy the users found it and note any particular difficulties that could
be addressed by a modification in design or materials.
Suitable test methods for ease of opening are described in detail in CEN Technical
Specification 15945 ‘Packaging – Ease of opening – Criteria and test method for evaluating
consumer packaging’.
This test could be included as part of more general user trials encompassing the whole
process of unpacking, setting up and learning to use the equipment. The most realistic and
informative results will be obtained by carrying out these trials in the users’ normal domestic
environments. The many procedural and ethical issues that are involved with this type of
testing and the skills involved in designing and running meaningful tests may require
engaging experienced professionals to carry out the trials.

Include all essential accessories

Rationale
Trying to install equipment without having all the required parts can be confusing, frustrating
and time consuming for anyone. This frustration is well illustrated in the Relative Confusion
drama where the characters have to return repeatedly to the shop to get the right cable.

Directions and techniques

Include all the necessary items within the packaging (high priority)
All the parts needed to get the equipment fully connected and working in the region of sale
should be provided within the packaging. This includes, but may not be limited to:
   At least one appropriate connector lead (e.g. HDMI or SCART);
   Batteries if they are required;
   The correct mains plug for the location of use.




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Ensure that external connections are easy to reach, clearly marked and
secure

Rationale
People with reduced mobility or other physical disabilities can find it difficult to reach around
the back of the set top box or television or to move them in order to get at the sockets, such
as headphones and USB cables. Whilst this is not as big a problem for permanent
connections, some, such as headphones, may need to be frequently disconnected and
reconnected. The problem is made worse if connections are not secure and can be easily
displaced while adjusting or cleaning the equipment. This may cause the equipment to stop
operating correctly, requiring the user to identify the problem and reconnect the cables. All
connections, even those that are permanent and secure, should be clearly marked, so users
are not required to rely on external help.

Directions and techniques

Make frequently accessed sockets easy to reach (high priority)
Sockets that are used frequently should be easy to reach. For example, an audio jack socket
can be located on the front panel of the equipment to allow for easy connection and
disconnection of headphones when needed. Sockets that are connected once and then
forgotten about may be placed at the back of the equipment in order to hide cables.

Allow for easy matching of sockets and cables (high priority)
Cables and sockets should be colour matched to identify which cable goes into which
socket, to avoid users having to read and interpret labels or symbols. A common example is
the standard red and white colouring of phono sockets and phono plugs.

Avoid accidental disconnection (high priority)
Plugs should fit securely into their sockets to avoid accidental disconnection when the
equipment is moved or the cable is pulled. Large plugs, such as SCARTs, can be held
securely in place by a clip.

How you could test for this
During the design phase of the product, run user tests on prototypes with older and disabled
users who have reduced mobility or reach. After launch, gather feedback from customers
over a period of realistic use of a few months or more about any problems that have
occurred with regard to connections. This could be included as part of more general long
term user trials encompassing the whole process of unpacking, setting up, learning and
using the equipment.

Automatically tune in and number channels and inform users of changes

Rationale
Manual tuning is unnecessary for most users and can easily be done automatically. If each
channel is assigned a permanent number, users with vision impairments who cannot use the
on-screen programme guide can navigate by remembering channel numbers. However, if
the numbers change without warning, those users may have difficulty locating the required
channel and may not immediately realise that they are watching a different channel.




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Directions and techniques

Run an automatic tuning sequence on initial set-up (high priority)
The equipment should automatically carry out a full channel search and tuning when first
powered up and connected to a display and a network.

Automatically identify new services (high priority)
New services should be identified and tuned in when they are launched.

Assign numbers to channels and inform users when the addition or removal of
channels causes channel numbers to change (high priority)
Channels should be numbered and should, as far as possible, retain their numbering over
time. If numbers have to be changed, due to the addition of new channels for example,
users should be informed. This can be done using a warning message when the user first
goes to a channel number after it has been reassigned.
An on-screen programme guide that allows users to assign their own numbers to channels,
in a favourites list for example, can avoid this problem.

Display tuning progress in a way that is accessible to people with sensory
impairments
During the automatic tuning sequence, if the display shows the current status, such as the
percentage of time remaining, this information should be presented in both visual and
audible forms so that it is accessible to people with hearing loss or sight loss. If the
equipment has spoken output, this can be used to speak displayed text messages or
percentages. Otherwise, beeps or other sounds can be used in a way to indicate that
progress is being made or that the sequence has completed. Any information about how to
skip or exit the tuning sequence should also be available in both visual and audible forms.

Allow operation without the remote control

Rationale
Remote controls can easily become temporarily lost or broken, requiring an alternative way
of operating the equipment that can be managed by all users, including those with physical
or sensory impairments. The design of the controls on the equipment itself should therefore
receive the same attention as the design of the remote control. Making the two sets of
controls similar, for example by using common labels for corresponding functions, will help
fsomeone who has lost or broken their remote control to operate the equipment from its front
panel instead. The design of the controls on the equipment should therefore follow some of
the same principles as the design of the remote control, such as tactile, audible and visual
feedback when a button is pressed.

Directions and techniques

Provide the basic controls on the equipment itself
At a minimum, the equipment’s basic operations should be available via controls on the front
panel.

Use the same labelling as used on the remote control
Graphics and text labels on the equipment should match those on the remote control. As far
as possible, shapes, groupings and layout should also match the remote control.




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Follow the same ease of use guidelines as for remote controls
Apply the ease of use guidelines in the Remote Controls section to the buttons on the
equipment’s front panel, where applicable. These include making buttons easy to press
independently, providing feedback on button presses and enabling buttons to be identified
by touch but without activating them.

Provide an easy way of restarting the equipment
If users experience problems that can only be solved by restarting or rebooting, the restart
procedure should be available through a button on the equipment fascia. Users should not
be required to switch off the electricity supply at the wall socket, as this may be difficult for
people with mobility problems or limited reach.

Allow users to select preferences on initial set-up, with universal
defaults

Rationale
The equipment may allow users to adjust various features of the display and interaction to
suit their needs and preferences. These possibilities are covered within the guidelines on on-
screen interfaces. It is important to allow users to set these preferences during the initial
tuning and set-up procedure. As well as meeting their needs as quickly as possible, this has
the benefit of introducing the range of set-up options to them, including those that they may
not need now but may want to use at a later point.

Directions and techniques

Present options on set-up
As part of the initial set-up sequence when the equipment is first powered up and connected
to a display, users should be prompted to set whatever preferences the equipment allows
them to alter. This can include such things as:
   Text size, colours and backgrounds in menus and the Electronic Programme Guide
    (EPG);
   Activating access services (subtitles, captions, audio description and visual signing);
   The choice of a simpler user interface, if provided;
   Favourite or hidden channels;
   User profiles containing personal combinations of the above settings.
Information about how these settings can be accessed and changed later, within the menus
for example, can also be provided at this time.

Default to spoken output
If the equipment provides spoken output of the menus, on-screen programme guide, etc.,
this should default to ON, with the option to turn it off and information about how to activate
and deactivate it later.

Adopt universal defaults
Default settings should meet the needs of a wide range of users, reducing the need for
individual users to alter the settings. For example, rather than using a very small text size
and providing the option to increase it (something that may be difficult for people who cannot
read the default size), a larger default size can be used.




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                              On-screen interfaces
The increasing amount of television content that is available and the increased capabilities
of television equipment has required manufacturers to provide extensive on-screen
interfaces to give users access to all the content and functionality. Without the Electronic
Programme Guide (EPG) and the on-screen information about programmes, it is very
difficult for viewers to plan their viewing, find programmes or even to know what they are
currently watching. Without access to some kind of menu system it is not possible to do a lot
of the things many people now take for granted, such as watching previously recorded
programmes, setting parental controls or changing the various set-up and display options.
Access to the on-screen interface is therefore essential.
A purely visual and textual on-screen interface presents obvious and significant problems for
many people, including people with limited or no vision, reading disorders or low literacy. A
complex user interface can present serious problems for people with cognitive or intellectual
impairments as well as many people without any impairment but who have some level of
difficulty in coping with the increasing complexity of everyday technology.
All of these problems can be reduced or eliminated by careful design which gives users
control over the way information is presented on screen and enables that information to be
conveyed in a variety of modes – text, graphics, sounds, spoken output – according to the
individual user’s needs and preferences.
Following design guidelines is not enough on its own, Designs should always be tested in
realistic settings by the intended users, including older people and people with disabilities.
Only then can designers and product providers be sure that the design works as intended.



Make navigation and menu selection easy

Rationale
People who find it difficult to use a remote control may often press the wrong button
accidentally. They may not know which button it was they pressed and if it takes them to an
unfamiliar place, they may have difficulty finding their way back to where they were. People
who find a television interface confusing may also take a wrong step and will need to get
back to where they were or to a known starting point in order to proceed.
       “It’s okay as long as I am familiar with the remote controls. If something goes
       wrong on the TV or I hit an incorrect button by mistake then I am lost as to
       what’s wrong.”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.
There are a number of ways that the design of the on-screen interface can help or hinder
navigation and selection. In combination, these can make the difference between the
interface being an effective and efficient tool for the user or a time-consuming and frustrating
barrier.

Directions and techniques

Ensure a direct correspondence between on-screen prompts and remote control
button labels (high priority)
On-screen instructions or prompts should exactly match the operations the user will have to
do. For example, users may be confused if instructed to “press the information key on your




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remote control” where the label on the key is the standard “i” symbol. Instead, say “press the
i key”.

Give users a way to get back to a known place (high priority)
This can be achieved by providing a ‘Back’ option that returns to the previous menu and a
‘Home’ option that returns to the main menu.

Allow one-touch menu selections (high priority)
Provide a way for users to select any item from within a menu by pressing a single remote
control button, This can be achieved by numbering menu items and options so that the user
can make a selection by pressing the associated number. This negates the need for users
to scroll through a menu to get to an option, then pressing a ‘Select’ button to activate it all of
which requires at least two and possibly more button presses.

Allow quick access to favourite functions (high priority)
Favourite functions should be accessible quickly, without having to go through a number of
menus to reach them. This can be achieved by allowing users to add their favourite
functions to the main menu or home screen. Another technique is to number the menus and
menu items and allow the user to select an item by pressing the menu number immediately
followed by the item number, without having to wait for the menu to appear. For example,
the third item in the second menu could be access by pressing “23” – 2 for the second
menu, followed by 3 for the third item. This can be extended to any depth of menus.

Make the current focus clear
It should be visually clear which item on the screen is the current focus for user input, e.g.
which function will be activated by pressing Select, OK or ‘i’. Figure 3 shows an example of
clear focus highlighting of the selected menu item.




        Figure 3. Clear menu highlighting, indicating the selected item – the focus of
                                 the Select or OK button.

Similar highlighting should be used for text entry fields used to enter information such as PIN
numbers or user details for interactive services.




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Make menus cyclical
In order to reduce the number of interactions required to select an option by traversing
through a menu, going ‘down’ past the last item should return to the first item. Similarly, in
the reverse direction, going ‘up’ past the first item should return to the last item.

How you could test for this
Test prototypes with a wide range of users, including older people and people with vision
impairments, to see how easy they find navigation and menu selection. Note the causes of
any errors, confusion or inefficiency.
After the product is launched, very valuable information can be obtained by engaging
customers in providing feedback. At its simplest, this can involve issuing questionnaires or
administering telephone interviews. However, this is unlikely to provide the depth of insight
required to address how well the design is working to support users. It is preferable to
observe the equipment in use. After using a product for a period of time, individual users will
adopt specific patterns of behaviour that work for them. This may mean avoiding functions
that are confusing or difficult or adopting unanticipated workarounds. Finding out about
these behaviours can give valuable insight into how users adapt to the equipment and how
well it supports them. Run customer studies to find out whether the equipment is being used
as intended, whether any functions are being avoided due to difficulties, how well it supports
various tasks and whether customers’ workarounds suggest better approaches to the design
of future products.
This testing could be included as part of more general long term user trials encompassing
the whole process of setting up, learning and using the equipment.

Ensure that information can be understood by all users

Rationale
People with low literacy, reading disorders, cognitive or intellectual impairments may have
difficulty reading, understanding and remembering text and graphical symbols that are not
simple, familiar and unambiguous. The overall complexity of the interface may also present
problems for some users, as illustrated in Case Study 2: A lot of things can be too
complicated.

Directions and techniques

Allow sufficient time (high priority)
The need for users to adhere to time-critical user inputs should be avoided by providing
options to turn off, adjust, or extend the time limit. This includes operations that require
buttons to be pressed in sequence (e.g. selecting channel numbers greater than 9). This
should include options to retaining the display of information chosen by the user (e.g. the
programme synopsis) until the users decides to remove it.
This requirement does not apply in cases where security or privacy would be compromised
by allowing extended time limits, or for real-time events, where a time limit is absolutely
required (e.g., interacting with a live television quiz show).

Allow users to reduce the complexity of the interface (high priority)
Users should be given the option to reduce the amount of information or functionality
displayed in the user interface.




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  (a) Grid view, showing all channels,       (b) List view, showing only one channel,
   scrolling vertically by channel and               scrolling vertically by time.
           horizontally by time.

                Figure 4. Two different view options for a programme guide.

This can be achieved by providing two clear options – a simple interface and a full interface.
An example of this, shown in figure 4, is the different view options that can be available in a
programme guide – a grid view showing all channels with scrolling in two directions and a list
view showing only a single channel with scrolling only in one direction.

Use simple language and intuitive symbols
Acronyms, abbreviations and jargon words should be avoided in preference for complete,
standard words and phrases.
For numbering, use Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, ...) which are more recognisable and easier to
understand than Roman numerals (I, II, III, i, ii, ...).
For symbols, follow universal design guidelines and common industry standards. A good
source of guidance with a listing of applicable standards is the Tiresias guidelines on
Pictograms, Icons and Symbols.
For English language instructions or explanatory text, follow Plain English Guidelines [20] as
far as possible. Guidance on how to write instructions and descriptions in Plain English is
available on the Simply Put website.

Reinforce text with graphical symbols
Explanatory images or pictograms should be provided as an aid for people who have
difficulty understanding or reading text. Icons should be designed to be both recognisable
and memorable. Figure 5 shows some examples. To find out whether these are
recognisable and memorable, user testing would be required.




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                  Figure 5. Set-up menu showing both text labels and icons.

Reinforce graphical symbols with text labels
Provide an additional text label with graphical symbols, to help people who have difficulty
understanding the symbol.

How you could test for this
To find out whether efforts to make information understandable will be successful, it is
necessary to test prototype designs with a wide range of users, including people with low
literacy, cognitive impairments and reading disorders.
Further tests could also be included within general long term user trials encompassing the
whole process of setting up, learning and using the equipment.

Ensure that text and graphics are readable by users with limited vision
or reading disorders

Rationale
Text and graphics need to be clear enough, large enough and laid out in a way that makes
them easily read and understood by people with a wide range of vision impairments,
including colour vision deficiencies, or people with reading disorders such as dyslexia.
People with vision impairments may have difficulty reading text that is not in large, clear,
static type and contrasted well against the background.
       “The colour of the full guide (blue on blue) can make it hard to read.”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.
People with colour vision deficiency can have problems with particular combinations of
colours. Similar problems may occur within graphics, such as icons. In addition to the text
and graphics itself, poor layout or the existence of moving content that distracts the eye can
make reading difficult. Some of these problems also affect people with reading disorders,
even if their vision is perfect.
The great variability in colour vision capabilities across the user population means it is not
possible to specify a single size and colour scheme that will suit everyone. It is very useful if


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individual users can be given the option to change the text presentation style (e.g. size,
colour and background colour) to suit their needs and preferences. In a 2004 survey of
people with disabilities by Fain, the ability to adjust text size and colour in the programme
guide were given average usefulness ratings of 3.4 and 3.2 out of a possible 4 by
participants with low vision. Deaf participants gave ratings of 3.8 and 3.6 for the ability to
adjust the size and colour of captions. Participants who were hard of hearing gave still
significant ratings of 3.2 and 3 out of four.

Directions and techniques

Ensure that text and graphics appear within the area of the screen that can be clearly
seen (high priority)
All informational text and graphics should appear within the title safe area – that is the visible
area where the text will not be cut regardless of the over scan (margin of the video image
that is normally not visible) of the television used.

Use a clear typeface and lettering for easy on-screen reading (high priority)
To maximise readability, use a screenfont – a typeface that has been specifically designed
for viewing on television displays at typical viewing distances. Ideally, the same font should
be used throughout the interface.
The text size should be sufficient to be readable across a wide range of visual acuity. The
recommendation of DigitalEurope in the Industry Self-Commitment to Improve the
Accessibility of Digital TV Receiving Equipment Sold in the European Union is to use 24 line
minimum for body text and 18 minimum for upper-case text on a 576 line display.
Italic, underlined, oblique, condensed, all upper case or fancy fonts can cause problems for
some people and should be avoided in favour of plain, mixed case lettering.
Blinking or moving text or graphics should be avoided as it can be difficult to track and can
distract the eye, making it difficult to read other static text.

Carefully choose colours and colour combinations (high priority)
Ensure that there is sufficient contrast between text and its background for the text to be
easily distinguished and read. Dark colours on a light, non-patterned background or light
colours on a dark background can both be used. Combinations of red and green should be
avoided since they can be difficult to differentiate for people with the most common form of
colour vision deficiency. Saturated or bright colours such as pure white or absolute black
should also be avoided. The European Industry Self-Commitment recommends that colours
be limited to an absolute maximum of 85% saturation to avoid text appearing to distort or
flicker.




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           Figure 6. Low contrast between text and background colours may cause
                                difficulties for some viewers.

Graphics should be treated in a similar way to text, with similar requirements for contrasts
between adjacent, overlaid or background colours.
Information should not be presented using colour alone. Ensure a second, redundant
indicator is provided. For example, in a list of recorded programmes, if those that have been
watched are coloured red and those that have not been watched are coloured green, people
with colour blindness will have difficulty perceiving the difference. An additional clear
‘unwatched’ symbol placed next to the green items could be used to provide the same
information to those who cannot perceive the colour differences. Colour may be used to
indicate meaning, as long as it is not the only indication.

Give users choice
Users should be given the option of altering the text presentation style. This can be achieved
by providing a simple menu containing a few well-chosen pre-set styles, such as:
   Standard presentation
   Large text
   High Contrast 1 (larger very light text on a dark background)
   High Contrast 2 (larger dark text on a very light background)
The option to adjust each parameter individually – text size, typeface, text colour,
background colour, etc. – can also be provided. As this will increases complexity, requiring a
significant level of set-up work by the user, it should only be used in conjunction with the
simple menu of pre-set styles, as an alternative, but not as a replacement.
If size changes are allowed, care should be taken to ensure that the largest text size does
not result in the text extending beyond the visible area of the display.

Adopt a layout that makes reading easy
Use left-aligned text in preference to centred, right-aligned or justified text.
Use short paragraphs in preference to long ones.
Avoid using multiple columns as these can lead to content comprehension problems or
disorientation for some users. If multiple columns are used, ensure there is a sufficient



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margin between columns and an adequate column width when the selected font size is
large.
Text should have adequate line and paragraph spacing. Recommended line spacing is at
least half the height of the text. Recommended paragraph spacing is one and a half times
the line spacing.
Avoid the need for scrolling, which is difficult for some people, causing them to lose track of
where they are or resulting in important options disappearing off screen. If it is important to
put more text on one screen than can fit without scrolling, an embedded scrolling text box
can be used to ensure that other information or functions remain on screen while scrolling.

How you could test for this
To find out whether text and graphics are easily read, it is necessary to run tests with a wide
range of users, including people with vision impairments, including colour vision deficiencies,
and people with reading disorders such as dyslexia.
It can also be useful to collect feedback from customers who have been using the on-screen
interface for a period of time. Asking them about what changes might make it easier for them
to use is likely to reveal any needs for improved clarity of text or graphics. These questions
could be addressed within general long term user trials encompassing the whole process of
setting up, learning and using the equipment.

Ensure that information is available to users with no sight

Rationale
A 2008 survey carried out by the Royal National Institute of Blind People found that
television plays a pivotal role in the lives of people with sight loss. In order to benefit from the
full experience of television, people without sight need an equivalent way of receiving or
accessing any information that is available in a visual form to those with sight. All on-screen
information is important to blind users, including channel and programme names, set-up
menus, instructions, alerts and system process indicators.
       “I'd like to know what channel I'm looking at. If I press the number 114 on the
       remote control, I've no idea what channel I'm looking at.”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.
Visual notifications are often used to inform viewers about the content of a programme
before watching, such as the suitability of the content for young children. This information
needs to be provided in a non-visual form for blind viewers. This information is needed either
before the programme starts or, if they switch to a programme that has already started,
immediately as they start watching.
A 2007 UK survey of blind and partially sighted television viewers by the Royal National
Institute of Blind People (RNIB) found that people with vision impairments have difficulty
using digital television equipment independently and most have not got sighted helpers. The
survey revealed that even the simple task of switching channels can be difficult without
spoken output:
       “To get from one programme to another, blind and partially sighted people
       have to either use the remote control number keypad to key in channel
       numbers they have memorised, or alternatively use the channel up and down
       buttons, whereas sighted people can use the Electronic Programme Guide. As
       digital television has many more channels than analogue television, these
       tasks involve a significant mental workload. This method of navigation also
       brings with it a significant margin for error: without the visual feedback
       provided automatically to sighted people, a blind person who inputs an



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       incorrect channel number may have to wait some time before identifying the
       channel being shown. This method is further complicated when new channels
       are added or channels are shifted around.”
Many of the difficulties encountered in the RNIB survey were due to users not having the
information required to plan their viewing. The following quote describes a typical problem:
       “...it is striking that most blind and partially sighted people have to go to
       considerable lengths and consult sources other than the television to find out
       what programmes have audio description, whereas sighted people can find
       out that information from the programme summary or the Electronic
       Programme Guide.”
Access to the on-screen programme guide is an essential part of television viewing. In the
RNIB survey, almost 90% of those who could not see the screen said they would like an
audible television guide. A 2004 survey of people with disabilities by Fain found that a
spoken programme guide was deemed as important as spoken menus.

Directions and techniques

Provide spoken output of on-screen information (high priority)
The only way to make all information available to people with no vision is to have it spoken.
Without spoken output, the menus, channel and programme names, programme guide, pop-
up warnings and other on-screen text will always remain unavailable to blind users.
There is a cost implication to providing spoken output. It has been implemented in standard
digital television equipment. One example is the Goodmans SmartTalk Freeview talking set
top box. Text-to-speech chipsets are inexpensive relative to other digital television
components, although integrating them into the equipment user interface so that the content
is spoken in the right way involves careful development work. See the guidelines on spoken
output for detailed information on how to do this.

Use audible signals for system processes (high priority)
If the system is going through a process such as updating, audible signals should be used to
inform the user that this is happening and help them identify the process.
Audible signals should also be provided when a pop-up message appears requiring user
intervention.

Use an audible signal to identify specific types of programmes
When a new programme begins or the user changes channel, standard audible warning
signals should be emitted in the following cases:
   The programme includes audio description.
   The programme has a classification regarding suitability for children.
As an example of how parental warning codes can be delivered, Spanish law establishes
uniform criteria for classification and signalling, with programmes assigned to one of six
categories, each having a corresponding visual symbol which must be displayed for at least
five seconds:


Specially recommended for children (optional)

Recommended for all ages                                 No
                                                       symbol



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Not recommended for children under 7 years old

Not recommended for children under 13 years old

Not recommended for children under 18 years old

Rated X

A standard warning tone, one second long, is provided to accompany the symbols for
programs classified as recommended for children over eighteen years or X rated. This does
not give the equivalent information, however. A preferred solution would be for the
equipment to issue a specific, unambiguous warning for each category, using pre-recorded
speech.

Give audio feedback when there is a delay in equipment operation
For any delay in equipment operation of ten seconds or more for which there is no onscreen
notification, audio feedback should be used to let the user know about the delay.
This may occur during tuning for example, when a static message is displayed. Not only can
a person without sight not see what is happening on screen, they also cannot see when
there is nothing happening and cannot know how long to wait before they can assume that
something has gone wrong.

How you could test for this
If audible signals have been included within the interface, it is important to find out whether
they are effective. Tests by blind users should be carried out to assess whether the signals
are noticeable and whether their meanings are recognisable and memorable.

Ensure that information is available to users who are deaf or hard of
hearing

Rationale
People who are deaf or hard of hearing need an equivalent way of receiving or accessing
any information that is available in an auditory form.
Viewers may need to know some information about a programme before watching, such as
the suitability of the content for young children. This information needs to be provided in a
non-audible form for deaf or hard of hearing viewers. They will need the information either
before the programme starts or, if they switch to a programme that has already started,
immediately as they start watching.

Directions and techniques

Accompany audible information with visual equivalents (high priority)
Any information presented through audio, such as warning tones or feedback beeps, should
also be presented visually.

Use a visible indicator to identify specific types of programmes
When a new programme begins or the user changes channel, standard visual warnings
should be displayed in the following cases:



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   The programme includes captions
   The programme has a classification regarding suitability for children (if this information is
    available with the programme)
As an example of how parental warning codes can be delivered, Spanish law establishes
uniform criteria for classification and signalling, with programmes assigned to one of six
categories, each having a corresponding visual symbol which must be displayed for at least
five seconds:


Specially recommended for children (optional)

Recommended for all ages                                  No
                                                        symbol
Not recommended for children under 7 years old

Not recommended for children under 13 years old

Not recommended for children under 18 years old

Rated X


How you could test for this
If visual indicators have been included within the interface, it is important to find out whether
they are effective. Tests by deaf users should be carried out to assess whether the signals
are noticeable and whether their meanings are recognisable and memorable.

Ensure that users know when access services are available

Rationale
People who require access services – subtitles, captions, audio description and visual
signing – need to know which programmes have them and which do not.. If a new
programme starts on the channel they are watching, or they switch to a different channel,
they will need the information immediately. The reason for this is that it may take some time
before the first access service (e.g. subtitle or audio description) occurs within the
programme. Without knowing immediately if the programme has access services users are
required to wait some time to find out. If they are looking up programme listings to decide
what to watch, they will need this information in the listing, so they can make an informed
decision.

Directions and techniques

Indicate the presence of access services in programme listings
Whenever programme names appear in a listing, such as an on-screen programme guide or
in a list of downloadable or recorded programmes, symbols or other visual indicators should
be displayed against those programmes that include access services. Figure 7 shows a set
of standard European access symbols proposed by the European standards organization
ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute). If there is not enough space




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available to display access symbols, an adequate solution may be to use some kind of
highlighting with an explanatory key.




        Figure 7. European standard access symbols for subtitling, audio description,
                  signing, spoken output and voice commands, from ETSI.

Provide visual and audible signals on programme start
Recognisable audible and/or visible alerts should be issued when a new programme with
access services starts or when the user changes to a programme that includes access
services. These should occur immediately the user starts watching the programme because
it may be some time before the first access services appear within the programme. Without
knowing immediately whether the programme has access services the user may have to
wait some time to find out.
For programmes with captions or visual signing, a visual signal can be sufficient. For
programmes with audio description, an audible signal can be sufficient.

Indicate the presence of access services in programme information
If the user requests more information about a programme, either within a menu listing or
while watching a programme, that information should indicate any access services that are
included with the programme.

How you could test for this
If visual and audible icons and signals are used to indicate access services, it is important to
find out whether they are effective. Tests by blind and deaf users should be carried out to
assess whether they are noticeable and whether their meanings are recognisable and
memorable.

Ensure that users always know what is happening

Rationale
Users need to know the current system status and progress of system activities, such as
retrieving content or updating. If the system is doing something but there is no indication of
this, some users may become confused.

Directions and techniques

Display information about the system status
During system processes, information about the current status should be displayed on
screen as a message, e.g. “downloading update”. For long processes, lasting 10 seconds or
more, this can be accompanied by a progress indicator in the form of a progress bar and/or
a percentage complete figure.




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Eliminate the risk of causing seizures

Rationale
Flashing, even for just a few seconds, can trigger seizures in people with photosensitive
epilepsy.

Directions and techniques

Avoid flashing (high priority)
Keep within general flash and red flash thresholds.

Allow individual users to quickly configure the user interface according
to their needs and preferences

Rationale
A number of people accessing television in a communal setting, such as within a family, may
have different needs. They may require different user interface configurations, different
access services (interlingual subtitles, captions, audio description or visual signing), etc. For
example, one family member who finds operating the EPG may require a larger sized text
and a different colour scheme. Another with a moderate hearing loss may require captions.
None of these features may be needed by other family members. The equipment may
provide various options for configuring these aspects, but configuring them all may take a
long time. It would therefore be useful if an individual person could save their preferred
settings and reinstate them all in one go. This would allow easy switching between the
needs of different individuals.

Directions and techniques

Allow users to store their preferred settings in profiles
Functionality should be provided for creating or updating user profiles. This can be as simple
as a menu option to store the current settings under a particular name and/or number. A
profile can include all user configurable options for the display, programme guide and menu
configurations, access service activations and configurations and any other optional
universal design features.

Provide a convenient profile switching option
An option for switching user profiles should be provided at a high level within the menu so it
is quick and easy to access. It is unlikely that high security will be required, so a simple
number and/or username selection may suffice as identifiers.
A set-up menu option can be provided for users to specify what the equipment should do
when it is switched on:
   Use the standard settings
   Use the settings for: <profile selection list>
   Re-use the previous settings
   Ask which settings to use




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                                  Remote controls
Handheld remote controls used for operating television equipment can present particular
difficulties for people with a range of abilities including limited experience in using
technology, restricted hand control or strength (prevalent amoung older users), restricted
vision or difficulty reading or understanding words or symbols. These guidelines describe
how these difficulties can be overcome and present suggested design solutions.
Remote control usability has greatly improved in recent years. This is largely due to
increasing awareness of the extent of the problems users face and the widespread adoption
of industry standards and guidelines for layout and labels. This can be seem in the
standardisation of the design of the power on/off symbol and of the navigation and “Select”
key cluster layout. Following these standards and guidelines can go a long way towards
achieving a universally usable design. However, many remote controls still have
unnecessarily small and closely spaced buttons and labels that could easily be made clearer
and easier to read or other avoidable deficiencies.
The guidelines in this section describe the features that would be found in a fully universally
usable remote control. It is recognised, however, that reconciling these design
considerations with aesthetics, cost and other criteria may sometimes be difficult. For
example a remote control with a reduced number of buttons and functionality may suit a
wide range of users, from people who find modern controllers complex or difficult to use to
those who just want a controller with the most frrequently used functions. An example of a
design that addresses this is shown in a video demonstrating some good Universal Design
features of the Sony Trinitron double-sided remote control.
If a manufacturer’s preferred remote control design is unable to meet the following criteria, it
may be possible to design and offer one of more alternative remote controls for customer to
choose from. It may also be possible to identify a third party universal remote control that
meets these guidelines and works with the equipment. This can then be suggested to
customers who want to source an alternative.



Ensure that the remote control is as simple as possible, given the
required functionality

Rationale
Most users benefit from a simple easy-to-use design, as long as it provides the required
functionality. People with intellectual or some cognitive impairments or who find technology
challenging to use may have difficulty understanding and using a complex remote control
with many different functions and would benefit from reduced functionality. Even people
without a recognised impairment may be more appreciative of an easy-to-use design than
one which contains a lot of non-essential functionality. In the UK digital switchover technical
trial at Ferryside and Llansteffan it was found that:
   many older people would have preferred a simple remote control with big buttons for the
    three basic functions (on/off, channel change, and volume control) although some
    appreciated digital text functionality as well;
   across all users the equipment offering the largest remote with the biggest and best-
    spaced buttons (with words rather than symbols) was the most popular. The model with
    the smallest remote and least distinguishable keys was the least popular.
In the survey of older and disabled television users carried out for these guidelines, one
respondent with a vision impairment said:



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       “I feel there are an awful lot of buttons on the remote control that I have no
       idea what they do! I probably use about 5 buttons regularly, and the rest just
       go unused.”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.
Given the number of different remote controls that a person may have in the home, adopting
industry standard layouts can be very beneficial for many users. Another vision impaired
survey respondent described how the differences prevent him from being able to use all the
functions:
       “The buttons I can use, but if I have to do anything other than what I normally
       do, I can't do it. I use the basics. Each remote control is completely different.
       So I learn the basics of them and leave the rest to other people.”

Directions and techniques

Provide a logical and easily understood layout (high priority)
Buttons should be logically positioned and grouped according to their functions. The best
results can be achieved by following these guidelines:
   Group related buttons together (e.g. the volume up and down, the arrow keys for
    navigation)
   Position buttons in a way that is consistent with functions, e.g., position the channel up
    button above the channel down button;
   Make the spaces between groups of buttons that relate to the same function greater than
    the spaces within the groups;
   Follow common industry standards (e.g. for the layout of the numeric keypad and the
    navigation/select cluster). For example, the Digital TV Group (DTG) D-Book describes
    standard recommended layouts for remote controls used with digital terrestrial television
    receivers in the UK.

Reduce complexity (high priority)
The complexity of the remote control should be reduced or hidden as far as possible. Less
frequently used buttons can be hidden under a sliding fascia in order to reduce the
complexity of a remote control during use, as can be seen in a video demonstrating some
good Universal Design features of the Sony Trinitron double-sided remote control.
An alternative remote control can be provided, with fewer buttons covering only the basic
and necessary functions. If this is not cost effective, it may still be possible to identify a
simple third party universal remote control that works with the equipment and provide
information to users on how to obtain one.
Quick access buttons for common functions assigned by the user can provide another useful
way of reducing complexity. If these are grouped together, in a row for example, it can be
easier for a person to remember the order of their favourite functions and press the required
button without having to refer to the label at all.
Care should be taken in using coloured backgrounds for buttons, if they may be confused
with standard colour buttons that are referred to in instructions or within programmes. For
example, figure 8 shows a situation where an instruction to “press the red button” might be
ambiguous, since there is more than one button that is red. This is borne out by the
experiences of the UK digital switchover technical trial at Ferryside and Llansteffan, where it
was found that some users experienced confusion between the ‘red button’ and the
recording button which was also (mostly) red.




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                             Figure 8. Which is the ‘red’ button?

Operational complexity can also be reduced by avoiding assigning dual functionality to
buttons and avoiding operations that require pressing two or more buttons at the same time.

Help users recover from errors
Provide a dedicated ‘Back’ button that takes the user back to the menu, screen or function
they have just left, allowing users to undo some types of mistakes.
       “It’s okay as long as I am familiar with the remote controls. If something goes
       wrong on the TV or I hit an incorrect button by mistake then I am lost as to
       what’s wrong.”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.

How you could test for this
Prototype designs can be assessed for understandability by user testing with a wide range
of users, including older people and people with cognitive or intellectual impairments.
Eye tracking studies can be a good way of finding out where people look for buttons on a
remote control or where they expect to find various functions. The results of such studies
can be useful in determining the easiest to find locations which can be reserved for the most
frequently used buttons.

Ensure that the remote control can be used with low physical effort

Rationale
Some people have reduced dexterity or strength in their hands. This is a natural
consequence of aging. It may also be due to degenerative conditions that restrict
movements in the joints of the fingers, hands and wrists, affect muscle power and control or
cause uncontrolled movements such as shaking. Some other people have only one usable
hand, due to disability, injury or simply having to hold something else in the other hand. The
usable hand may be the left or the right and may not be the person’s naturally preferred
hand.
Any of these conditions may make it more difficult for the person to grip objects and
manipulate them with precision. Actions that require the user to press two or more buttons at
the same time may be particularly difficult.



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It may be difficult to hold a remote control in the correct position and press buttons without
accidentally pressing other buttons at the same time. This problem is made worse if buttons
are small and closely spaced because they are more difficult to accurately target and
uncontrolled movements may cause the hands to stray off a button. In extreme cases, the
user may accidentally strike the wrong button or strike two at the same time, causing errors.
This can be particularly problematic with touchscreens or contact-sensitive controls where
the user's hand can easily wander over the wrong area. Many people locate buttons by feel,
so they need a way to touch buttons without activating them in order to identify them. This is
of particular importance for blind people. Another source of unintended operations is buttons
that repeat when they are held down for a length of time. In the UK digital switchover
technical trial at Ferryside and Llansteffan, one of the issues identified with remote controls
was that older users tended to hold handset buttons down too long, causing problems with
menus and incorrect channel selection.
Buttons that are large, with a concave shape and well spaced will make the remote control
easier for some users. In a 2004 survey of people with disabilities by Fain, large buttons and
increased spacing were given very high usefulness ratings (average 3.4 and 3.3 out of a
possible 4) by participants with upper mobility impairments. Concave buttons received a high
rating of 2.8 out of 4. In the survey of television users carried out for these guidelines, when
asked “have you had any problems with the remote control?”, answers included:
       “Buttons too small and too tight together.”
       “Its okay but the buttons are small on the one for the TV. The one for the
       satellite box is better.“
       – Guidelines survey respondents.
People may wish to hold the remote control in a position that is comfortable for their seating,
reclining or standing position. When held in a position that allows users to comfortably grip
and reach the buttons, the remote control may be oriented in a different direction from where
they are facing, both vertically and horizontally. Some people with physical disabilities, for
example, may have difficulty holding a remote control in a particular orientation so that it is
pointed directly towards the equipment. In general, failure to point the remote control at the
equipment was one of the issues identified in the UK digital switchover technical trial at
Ferryside and Llansteffan.

Directions and techniques

Ensure that buttons are easy to press independently (high priority)
Buttons should be large and well spaced. An inactive space between buttons that is at least
50% of the button width is recommended. The On/Off button can be further isolated to avoid
accidental activation.
Buttons can be given a concave shape to make them easier to press.
No actions should require the user to press two or more buttons at the same time.

Ensure that the remote control is easy and comfortable to use for someone with a
weak grip or the use of only one hand (high priority)
The control should have an easy-grip textured surface that will not slip or turn in the hand. A
matte finish tends to cause more friction than a glossy finish.
The remote control should be stable enough when placed on a flat (hard or soft) surface to
be operated with one finger. One of the guidelines survey respondents described using the
remote control in this way:
       “Not easy - I use a wheelchair and I need to balance it on the arm of it.”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.


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The remote control should be well balanced, with the weight uniformly distributed when the
batteries are in place.
The size of the remote control and the stretching distances required to reach various buttons
can be compared with hand size and thumb extension data such as that contained in the UK
Department of Trade and industry publication “Specific anthropometric and strength data for
people with dexterity disability”. For interactive television applications, the user may need to
hold the remote control for prolonged periods, so it should not be too heavy. However, bear
in mind that very small and light remote controls may also be difficult to use.
Providing a hand strap that can be attached to the control as an accessory, such as the one
shown in figure 9, is a very useful choice for some people.




                    Figure 9. Sky ‘Easy Grip’ attached to a remote control.

Avoid accidental operations (high priority)
The design of the remote control should include a way to avoid buttons being activated when
they are unintentionally touched.

Let the user know that a button has been pressed (high priority)
Provide feedback in tactile, audible and/or visual form on button presses, so that the user
knows when a button has been pressed, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Allow for inaccurate pointing of the control
Ensure that the remote control sends its signal across a wide angle, both horizontally and
vertically, so that it is not necessary to point the remote control directly at the equipment.

Ensure that users can change the batteries
The battery compartment should be designed so that opening it and inserting or removing
batteries is straightforward, within the constraints of making it safe for small children. If the
battery compartment lid comes off completely, it may be easily dropped, so a hinged design
may be better.

How you could test for this
Prototype designs can be compared against anthropometric data giving ranges of strength,
finger size and reach for a general population. A good source is the UK Department of Trade
and industry publication “Specific anthropometric and strength data for people with dexterity
disability”. Prototypes can also be assessed against the checklist provided in the study of
remote control devices for digital TV receivers published by the Department for Business
Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in the UK. Industry standards for good practice such as
the Digital TV Group (DTG) D-Book in the UK can also be used as checklists.
Some criteria, such as the likelihood of users making errors, are difficult to assess without
user testing by a wide range of users, including older people and people with physical



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disabilities that result in reduced dexterity or hand control. Include tests of one-handed use,
including people using their less-favoured hand.

Ensure that the remote control can be used by people with limited vision

Rationale
People with vision impairments may have difficulty reading labels that are not in large, clear
type contrasted well against the background. Glare is a particular problem for people with
some types of vision impairment, so light reflected off the buttons themselves or off any
other part of the control can make it more difficult to read the labels. People with colour
vision deficiency may have problems with particular label/ background colour combinations.
       “Buttons could be a little bigger and so could symbols.”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.

Directions and techniques

Make visual markings as clear as possible (high priority)
For maximum readability, markings should be:
   Large: use the maximum print size possible given the available space and adequate
    spacing;
   Legible: sans serif, bold type is recommended;
   Contrasted to the colour of the background (dark on light or light on dark);
   Durable.
Red markings on a green background or green on red should be avoided as they are likely
to be particularly difficult to read for people with colour vision deficiency.

Avoid materials that cause glare
Surfaces should be made from unreflective materials. The use of glossy materials such as
chrome, metallic or shiny plastic anywhere on the control can contribute to glare, making
markings difficult to read.




       Figure 10. Two alternative versions of the same remote control. Glare from the
                    shiny version may cause problems for some people.

How you could test for this
To find out whether the markings are sufficiently clear, it is necessary to run user tests with
people with vision impairments in a range of lighting conditions. These lighting conditions
should cover the full range of typical domestic situations users are likely to encounter.
Include bright daylight and restricted daylight from various angles and a range of artificial
lighting conditions.


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It can also be useful to collect feedback from customers who have been using the remote
control for a period of time. This can be done within general long term user trials
encompassing the whole process of setting up, learning and using the equipment.

Ensure that the remote control can be used without requiring sight

Rationale
Many people use the most commonly used functions on a remote control without needing to
look at the remote control on every use. Similarly, but to a more profound extent, people
who are blind rely on touch or audible feedback to orient the remote control, locate the
required button, press it and know that it has been pressed. After some learning, they can
often use a familiar interface by touch alone once they have their fingers oriented around a
known starting location and providing the individual controls are easy to discern and
differentiate without sight. This is similar to the way touch typists can use a QWERTY
keyboard without looking at it, once they are oriented on the ‘F’ and ‘J’ keys. An important
consideration is that operating by touch usually requires buttons to be located by touch,
before they are operated. This has implications for touch-sensitive interfaces.
       “The buttons I can use, but if I have to do anything other than what I normally
       do, I can't do it. I use the basics. Each remote control is completely different.
       So I learn the basics of them and leave the rest to other people.”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.

Directions and techniques

Allow for easy orientation without requiring sight (high priority)
Make use of shape, texture or other tactile features that assist users in positioning the
control the correct way round in the hand using touch.

Provide a way for blind users to quickly locate the required button (high priority)
Buttons should be logically positioned and grouped according to their functions. The best
results can be achieved by following these guidelines:
   Group related buttons together (e.g. the volume up and down, the arrow keys for
    navigation)
   Position buttons in a way that is consistent with functions, e.g., position the channel up
    button above the channel down button;
   Make the spaces between groups of buttons that relate to the same function greater than
    the spaces within the groups;
   Follow common industry standards (e.g. for the layout of the numeric keypad and the
    navigation/select cluster).
Buttons should have clearly defined edges that are distinguishable by touch. This can be
achieved by adding a raised border or by making a small circular hollow in the middle of the
button.
Tactile indicators should be used on some buttons. A raised dot or line on the number ‘5’ is
very useful. It is now a common standard found on most keypads so users will expect it and
know what it means without it having to be explained. This tactile indicator is of particular
importance to blind users. This should not decrease the legibility of the visual markings,
however. Tactile indications should follow international standards such as ES 201 384
“Human Factors telecommunication keypads and keyboards – tactile identifiers”.




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In addition to raised tactile indicators, different shapes, sizes or textures can also be used to
differentiate key buttons or groups of buttons.

Provide a way for users to identify buttons without activating them (high priority)
The design of the remote control should allow users to locate buttons by feel without
activating them, in order to avoid accidental operations. Touch-sensitive or light touch
buttons may not allow this or may make it difficult and prone to error. However, it is possible
to create a touchscreen interface that can be used without sight in which activating a button
requires more than a single touch. An example can be found on the Apple mobile operating
system, iOS used on the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod touch range of products. When used
in conjunction with the Apple speech output engine called Voiceover, button labels are
spoken on touch and activated by a double-touch.
Providing feedback in tactile and/or audible form on button presses can let the user knows
when a button has been pressed, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Ensure that users do not require sight to change the batteries
The battery compartment should be designed so that opening it and inserting or removing
batteries can be done without vision. If the battery compartment lid comes off completely, it
may be easily dropped, so a hinged design may be better. The replacement of the lid should
slot in easily and should not require the user to visually line up parts that fit together.

How you could test for this
During development, run user tests of working prototypes with a range of users in different
contexts of use as well as blind users.

Ensure that the remote control can be used by people who have
difficulty reading or understanding text or symbols
Rationale
People with low literacy, reading disorders, cognitive or intellectual impairments may have
difficulty reading, understanding and remembering text and graphical symbols that are not
simple, familiar and unambiguous.
       “There are different buttons, you get confused with them. There’s different
       buttons for different things.”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.

Directions and techniques

Make text labels and icons simple and intuitive (high priority)
Icons or button shapes on the remote control should correspond to the icons used on
screen. This will make it much easier for people to identify the right button without having to
read a label or understand a symbol.
Standard icons & labels should be used wherever possible, so that associations previously
learned on other products can be applied without the need for new learning. An example is
the use of the standard italic ‘i’ for information. For guidance, refer to the online database of
Graphical Symbols for Use on Equipment (requires password) which is maintained by IEC
(International Electrotechnical Commission) and ISO (International Organisation for
Standardisation).




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       Figure 11. European standard access symbols for subtitling, audio description,
                  signing, spoken output and voice commands, from ETSI.

Maximise information by using both graphical symbols and text labels
Buttons should have easily recognisable and memorable graphical symbols as an aid for
people who have difficulty understanding or reading text. Similarly, text labels should also be
provided for people who have difficulty understanding or remembering symbols.

How you could test for this
To find out whether text labels and graphical symbols are easily read, it is necessary to run
tests with people who might have difficulty, including people with vision impairments,
cognitive impairments, intellectual impairments or reading disorders. Tests should
encompass understanding, distinguishing and remembering. This is often referred to as
‘guessability’ and ‘learnability’.

Provide convenient access to essential universal design features via the
remote control

Rationale
Television equipment may provide a range of universal design features than may be of
benefit to a wide range of users but are specifically required by persons with disabilities in
order to use the service. These include:
   Access to interlingual subtitles, captions, audio description and visual signing when they
    are included with programmes;
   Control over user interface presentation – text size, colours, etc.;
   Spoken output of menus, electronic programme guides and other on-screen text.
People requiring these features may often use television in a family setting where universal
design features such as captions or large text may be switched on and off by different family
members, depending on who is watching. It is therefore important that these features are
easy to activate.
This is of particular importance for the most commonly used universal design feature –
captions. However, if the equipment contains other universal design features, such as a
configurable user interface or spoken output, users may have bought that particular item
because of those features, so they might also be considered essential in that case. For
example, in a 2004 U.S. survey of people with disabilities by Fain, the provision of dedicated
buttons on the remote control for toggling captions and audio description were given the
maximum usefulness rating by almost all deaf and blind participants.

Directions and techniques

Enable users to instantly switch access services on and off (high priority)
The remote control should include at least one dedicated button to activate and deactivate
access services during viewing.
A button for closed captions can be labelled “CC”. In Ireland and the UK, where captions are
usually referred to as “subtitles”, the button can be labelled “S”. A button for audio



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description can be labelled “AD”. The words “Captions”, “Subtitles” and “Audio Description”
can be used as labels if they can fit legibly within the design of the remote control.




           Figure 12. Remote control with ‘AD’ and ‘CC’ buttons for activating and
                    deactivating audio description and closed captions.

If it is not possible to include dedicated buttons for each access service, a single button can
be provided with an option within a set-up menu to change its function from one access
service to another, for example from caption activation to audio description activation.




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                           Access service provision
People who are deaf, hard of hearing, vision impaired or have language understanding
difficulties, have particular requirements in order to be able to perceive and understand
programming content. Known collectively as “access services” – interlingual subtitles,
captions, audio description and visual signing – they are essential for the full understanding
and enjoyment of programme content.
A particular benefit of digital television over an analogue service in that access services can
be provided as a separate stream, together with timing and other information to allow correct
synchronisation. To make use of these services, users will need to activate them through
their receiver equipment.



Decode and record access services when they are included with a
programme

Rationale
If access services are provided with programmes, viewers will need equipment that can
decode them and provide a way to activate or deactivate them during viewing, including with
recorded programmes.
Access services are often used in a communal or family setting. The availability of access
services through a television or set top box can make it more ‘family friendly’. A 2008 survey
carried out by the Royal National Institute of Blind People found that whilst many blind and
partially sighted people watch television alone, 60% also watch in a communal setting with
other people. One survey participant commented:
       "There are two different ways that I will watch TV; one is with the family where
       we’ll find something that we all want to watch, or we’re just relaxing so it could
       be a gardening programme or something, or a wildlife documentary. That’s
       one way and in those cases audio description really enhanced that
       enormously from what it used to be because it would normally be stuff that I
       wouldn’t necessarily have chosen to watch, but we’re just together."
Access services may be switched on and off by different family members, depending on the
needs and preferences of whoever is watching at the time. It is therefore very useful if these
features are easy to activate and deactivate on a programme by programme basis.
Once activated, users will usually want the access service to remain activated when the
programme or channel changes or when they power down the receiver. To have to
reactivate them with every programme change would be tedious and would make it very
difficult to switch between programmes and channels. Even to have to reactivate the setting
every time the receiver is switched on or has its software upgraded would be an
unnecessary burden.
One of the most popular features of a digital television service identified in the survey of Irish
television users is the ease with which a programme, or series of programme can be
recorded. It is essential for the enjoyment of recorded content that access services can also
be recorded with the programme




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Directions and techniques

Decode standard access services (high priority)
The receiver should have the capability to decode access services that are provided in
standard formats within their location. For example, Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB)
subtitles and DVB audio description are supplied with most digital terrestrial services.

Enable users to easily activate and deactivate individual access services (high
priority)
Users should be able to activate and deactivate access services during viewing, for
individual programmes. Ideally, dedicated buttons can be provided on the remote control. A
button for closed captions can be labelled “CC”. In Ireland and the UK, where captions are
usually referred to as “subtitles”, the button can be labelled “S”. A button for audio
description can be labelled “AD”. The words “Captions”, “Subtitles” and “Audio Description”
can be used as labels if they can fit legibly within the design of the remote control.




           Figure 13. Remote control with ‘AD’ and ‘CC’ buttons for activating and
                    deactivating audio description and closed captions.

If it is not possible to include dedicated buttons for each access service, a single button can
be provided, with an option within a set-up menu to change its function from one access
service to another, for example from caption activation to audio description activation.

Retain access service settings over time (high priority)
Access service settings should be stored in a way that ensures they persist over time,
across programme or channel changes, after powering up and powering down and after
automatic software upgrades.

Allow users to record access services along with the programme (high priority)
Equipment that enables programmes to be recorded should provide a facility to record
access services along with programmes. This can be user configurable to allow maximum
flexibility in trading off the anticipated future need for access services and the amount of



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data storage required. A flexible solution giving maximum control to the user would be to
provide a global setting with the following options:
   Always record all access services;
   Always record specified access services only (allowing the user to make multiple
    selections from a list of all access services);
   Record whatever access services are activated at the time of recording;
   Ask at recording time which access services should be recorded;
   Never record any access services.




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                                   Spoken output
The only way to make all the information displayed on screen available to people with no
vision is to have it spoken. Without spoken output, the menus, channel and programme
names, programme guide, pop-up warnings and other on-screen text will always remain
unavailable to blind users.
This section describes how to achieve the best spoken output – what to speak, how much,
when, and in what way. It deals only with spoken output of the equipment user interface. It
does not cover speaking of subtitles or text embedded in the programme (e.g. news tickers
or phone numbers shown on screen). Some of those issues are covered in the guidelines
sections on ‘Translating, Subtitling and Captioning’ and ‘Text and graphics displayed within a
programme’.
The guidelines presented here assume that there is a visual user interface displaying
programme information, menus, warnings, etc. as text and graphics. The spoken output will
then consist largely of a spoken equivalent of this text and graphics. This is in line with a
mainstreaming approach to design where the speaking facility is added to standard existing
equipment which includes a standard visual display.
The basic aim of spoken output in this context should be to give blind or vision impaired
users information that is equivalent to that received by sighted users. The requirement for
equivalence means that it is not always necessary, or even desirable, to repeat the visual
content verbatim, as visual content often relies to some extent on its presentation (e.g.
shape and position) to convey meaning. It is also not necessary to give blind viewers more
information than sighted viewers receive, unless the extra information is specifically required
by the blind user. For example, when switching channels, if the visual user interface displays
the new channel and programme names but not the start and end times, it is not necessary
to add the start and end times to the spoken output.
However, there are some pieces of information that are not important to sighted users but
essential or very helpful for blind users. Examples are the number of items in a menu, the
ordinal number of the current item (e.g. this is the 3rd menu item) and whether a programme
includes audio description. Information such as this should be spoken even if it is not
explicitly included in the visual display.



Include the ability to speak all displayed information

Rationale
Any information that is displayed to sighted users should also be available to blind users.
The visual display provides information to sighted users in a number of different ways. Most
of the text in the user interface contains important information that vision impaired users also
need to have available to them. The use of colours, text styling or graphical images may also
give important information on top of what is contained in the text. Visual layout and
positioning can provide additional context that is needed to make sense of the written
information. Changes to what is displayed usually also indicate something important.

Directions and techniques

Include the ability to speak any element of the visual display that provides
information (high priority)
Any text or graphics displayed on screen that conveys information should be able to be
provided as spoken output.


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This includes most of the text and graphics displayed on screen. There are a few
exceptions, such as continuously displayed company logos, images used purely for
aesthetic purposes or images used to visually reinforce information already provided in text.
These should not be spoken.




                         Figure 14. Samsung Smart TV screenshot.

For example, in the screenshot shown in figure 14:
   Each of the main functions and the recommended apps is represented by an icon and a
    text label, e.g. ‘Cinema Now’, ‘Source’, ‘Web Browser’, ‘Blockbuster’, ‘Accu Weather’,
    etc., The text label should be spoken when the item is selected.
   The icons for programmes and apps at the top of the screen under ‘Your videos’ and
    ‘Samsung Apps’ do not have text labels but are informational. An equivalent text
    alternative should be spoken.
   The texts ‘Your videos’ and ‘Samsung Apps’ are descriptive headings for the collections
    of items beneath them. They should be spoken.
   The screen title ‘SMART HUB’ identifies that this is the ‘home screen’ when first opening
    or returning to this screen. This should be spoken.
   The X button in the top right is a graphic meaning should “close smart hub” or “return to
    viewing”. This should be spoken using an approriate text alternative, depending on what
    it actually does in the context.
   The two dots beneath the main function icons indicate that this is the first of two screens.
    The left and right arrows to the sides indicate how to get to the next screen. This is
    information so it should be spoken when the user navigates to the first icon. This can be
    done by speaking an appropriate text alternative such as “main functions, screen 1 of 2,
    press left and right arrows for previous and next screen”.
The choice of text alternatives for a given interface can best be determined by testing
prototypes with people with vision impairments.




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Speak information that is implicit in the layout (high priority)
If the layout of elements on the screen provides important information, this should be
available as speech.
For example, in a two-dimensional grid or table the meaning of the data contained in a cell
depends on its row and column position, described by the row and column headers. In the
example screen shot in figure 15, the row and column headers reveal that Match of the Day
is on BBC 2 England starting at 10pm. This information should be available with the
programme title.




                    Figure 15. On-screen programme guide in grid view.

Speak information that is implicit in changes (high priority)
If screen changes or transitions provide a visual confirmation that a command has been
activated, this feedback is information and should be spoken. Similarly, a lack of screen
change or activity may signify that a command has not been activated. This is also
information that should be spoken if it is important and would otherwise not be known.

Identify elements that are visually recognisable but unnamed (high priority)
When the user navigates to a screen, functions or area of the interface is visually identifiable
as a separate logical element but does not have a title displayed on screen, this should be
announced in speech if important.
An example is where the on-screen programme guide does not have a title such as
‘programme guide’ displayed on screen. When it appears, a sighted person may
immediately identify it as the programme guide. Even in the absence of a visible title, a
screen name should be spoken so that the blind user knows where they are.
Figure 16 shows a screen containing three logical sections that have titles that can be read
out when the user navigates into that section – ‘Your Videos’, ‘Samsung Apps’ and
‘Recommended’. But the fourth section, the main functions – ‘Cinema Now’, ‘Source’, ‘Web
Browser’, etc. – does not have a title. When the user navigates to this section, an
appropriate title should be spoken, such as “main functions” or “main menu”.




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                         Figure 16. Samsung Smart TV screenshot.

Inform the user when there is nothing to speak (high priority)
If a screen or list is empty with no elements to speak, this fact should be spoken.

Provide spoken feedback when nothing is happening
For any delay in receiver operation of ten seconds or more for which there is no change in
the onscreen notification, spoken feedback should be used to let the user know about the
delay. One way of doing this is simply to repeat the displayed message periodically.

Let the user know when spoken output is not possible
In some parts of the interface it may not be possible to provide spoken output. For example,
a receiver may provide spoken output of the menu system and the programme guide, but
not the interactive services.
In this case, a warning message should be spoken, giving details of how to exit this section
of the user interface.

Speak the appropriate information at the appropriate time and in the
appropriate order

Rationale
Deciding what to speak and when is crucial to the usability of the interface.
       “Interface design is an art as well as a science. An intelligent designer can
       create an interface that wrings all the performance it can out of the hardware.
       But it must also accomplish much more. It must anticipate user needs,
       abilities, assumptions and preferences while striking just the right balance
       between ease of use and intrusive handholding. An interface that is confusing,
       illogical or inconsistent can drive a user away. But an interface that goes too
       far in the other direction, offering so much assistance and guidance that it
       actually prevents the user from making any forward progress, can be equally
       maddening.”



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       – Developer's Guide to Creating Talking Menus for Set-top Boxes and DVDs,
       WGBH National Centre for Accessible Media.
Users do not necessarily need to hear all the information that is displayed. For example, in a
programme listing, the user may need only enough information to decide whether they are
interested or whether they want to go on to the next item. For this reason, information should
be prioritised by reading the important information and to allow the user to stop the speech
output or move on to another item before it is finished.
Not all of the available information needs to be spoken every time it appears or changes. To
use an extreme example, sometimes the viewer will want to know the time, but the displayed
time may change every minute or even every second and repeatedly reading out the time
whenever it changes would be intrusive and unhelpful.
Some good evidence regarding when to speak which information is provided by a 2007
survey by the Royal National Institute of Blind People of blind and partially sighted television
viewers. Almost 70% said they would want the current time spoken “anytime I ask for it” and
20% said “never”. Very few want the time spoken “when I switch the TV on” or “each time I
change the channel”. 75% of blind and partially sighted people said they would want similar
on-demand access to the programme summary and the ‘now & next’ programme
information. Almost 70% would like the programme start and end time spoken “anytime I ask
for it”. For the channel number, channel name and programme name, the preferences were
more variable, as shown in table 1. Significant numbers would like it spoken on channel
changes and on request.


                              “each time I change the channel”     “anytime I ask for it”
       Channel name                          54%                           40%
       Channel number                        40%                           49%
       Programme name                        38%                           54%

            Table1. Preferences of blind and partially sighted people for receiving
             information about which channel or programme they are watching.

The findings of this study are reflected in the following directions and techniques. However,
these findings are limited by the fact that the survey respondents did not have any real
experience of spoken output, so it might be difficult for them to know, for example, whether
they would like the current time spoken when the programme guide opens.

Directions and techniques

Speak information only when relevant or on request (high priority)
The following default behaviours should be adopted:
   The current time should not be repeatedly spoken but should be available on request.
   When the viewer changes channel, speak the channel number, channel name and
    programme name.
   The programme summary and the ‘now & next’ programme information should be
    available on request.
   The channel number, channel name and programme name should be available on
    request.
More information or user testing is required to determine other requirements, for example
what should be spoken when the programme guide opens.


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Speak the most important information first (high priority)
Information should be prioritised and the most important spoken first. For example, when
switching to a new channel or selecting channels in the programme guide, information can
be given in the following order:
   Channel number
   Channel name
   Programme name
This gives users the essential information first, allowing them to move on when they have
heard enough without waiting to hear the whole spoken output. For example, given the
channel numbering shown in figure 17, the viewer can change from channel 105 to channel
111 by repeatedly pressing the down arrow button and the following information can be
spoken:
       106, Sky1, An Idiot Abroad.
       107, Sky Living, Britain’s Next Top Model.
       ...
       111, Dave, Live at the Apollo.
The user can move on as soon as they have heard the channel number – “6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11”,
without waiting to hear the channel names and programme names. Viewers who are less
familiar with the channel numbers may want to listen to the name and number of each
channel before moving on, but not the programme name.




             Figure 17. On-screen programme guide showing multiple channels.

The example above prioritises the task of navigating by channel number and name over the
task of navigating by programme name. Which is the most important task would need to be
ascertained by user testing and it is likely that there will be differences among users. It is
difficult to give hard and fast rules covering every possible situation. To find out what is best,
it is most useful to have prototype designs tested in a realistic situation by people with sight
loss.




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Pop-up warnings should be given priority over everything else, interrupting the currently
spoken output.

Speak the right amount of information (high priority)
The amount of information spoken should not be so much as to overwhelm the user. For
example, the programme guide in figure 17 includes some essential information – the screen
name “TV guide” and the fact that this is a list of all channels. It also contains a lot of
instructional information – the functions of the coloured buttons and how to view or record a
programme. Speaking all this information before speaking the current channel and
programme would not be helpful. Unfamiliar users may find it useful to be told the most
important instruction – how to view a programme – so when first opened it might start by
reading “TV guide, All channels, 101 BBC 1 London, Single Father, Press Select to view.”.

Avoid speaking information that is already known (high priority)
When information is repeated in the user interface it should not be re-spoken unnecessarily.
For example, if the current date and time is displayed on every screen or pop-up message, it
is not necessary to read it every time. It may be spoken if it is likely to be needed at a
specific time, such as when a user first enters the programme guide. Then it would be useful
to speak the current time, so that the user has something to relate the programme times to.
Another example of unnecessary repetition is where the user scrolls through the
chronological list of programmes on a single channel. The channel number and name should
not be read out for every programme, but only when the user first selected that channel.

How you could test for this
Test prototype speech output with a number of blind users, using a Wizard-of-Oz
methodology, to determine whether users find it informative, sufficient, succinct and
satisfying. The Wizard-of-Oz methodology enables the tests to be carried out at an early
stage, before the speech output is implemented, by using an experimenter to act the part of
the speaking user interface. Tests should be task-based, in which users are required to
understand and react to the information provided as speech in order to carry out typical
viewing, navigation and set-up tasks. While the user operates the visual interface using the
remote control, the experimenter speaks what the interface would output in response to
each user action. This allows various approaches or variations of speech output to be trialled
without the cost of implementing any of them first.

Ensure that the spoken output is understandable

Rationale
Users will have difficulty understanding spoken output that is not clearly spoken in their own
language or dialect. Responsiveness is also an issue. If speech is delayed and lags behind
the event being spoken, users may become frustrated or misunderstand what is being
referred to, leading to errors.

Directions and techniques

Synchronise spoken output with events or focus (high priority)
Spoken output should be synchronised with the event that is being described, such as the
change of focus from one item to another when the user presses a button on the remote
control. This will ensure that that spoken output is perceived as belonging together with the
event being spoken.




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Having sufficient processing power to avoid time lags is important in this regard so the
requirements will need to be taken into account in the early stages of designing products
with spoken output.

Use an appropriate language (high priority)
Text-to-speech software should be designed to speak the language of the receiver user
interface. A speech synthesizer designed for one language will not read another language
with the correct accent and may therefore be unintelligible.
It is preferable to use a language or dialect local to the users of the equipment.

Make sure the information itself does not rely on vision to be understood
Do not write information and instructions in the user interface in a way that relies on the
perception of shape, size, colour or position. For example, the instruction to “choose from
the options on the right”. will be difficult to follow unless the user interface provides a simple
and intuitive way for moving left and right and the list of options is the only thing “on the
right”. Even if this is the case, it is still likely to present problems for some users who will
wonder “am I on the right yet?”.
If instructions like this exist within the user interface, the text to speech engine should
substitute a more explicit alternative description.

Speak clearly
Text to speech engines should avoid stuttering or pauses in speech. This can occur if the
speech processor is too slow to keep up with what it is being asked to do, so the processor
requirements will need to be taken into account in the early stages of designing products
with spoken output.

Put the information into the right words

Rationale
Much of the on-screen information that needs to be spoken is in the form of text that can be
read out as it is. However, there is also a lot of information contained in images or implicit in
the visual layout. An example is where the programme guide is presented as a grid in which
the rows and columns add meaning or context (e.g. channel and time) to the items in the
cells (e.g. programme name). Blind users should be given all the information they require
without overwhelming them with unnecessary details or repetition.

Directions and techniques

Speak text content as it would be read, unless it can be improved upon (high priority)
Text on screen should usually be spoken just as it appears. Text that is designed to give the
required information will usually be suitable for vision impaired users and there is usually no
need to paraphrase or embellish the text in the user interface.
However, in some cases the on-screen text may have been abbreviated in order to save
screen space and a fuller version will be clearer. Figure 17, shows an example where the
on-screen abbreviation “AUDIO DES” can be spoken as “audio description”.




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        Figure 18. On-screen menu showing audio description option abbreviated to
                          “AUDIO DES” to fit the available space.

Abbreviations should be announced as they would be read. For example, ‘EPG’ should be
read letter-by-letter as “ee pee jee” rather that “eppug”, whereas ‘PIN’ should be read as a
word, as “pin” rather than “pee eye enn”. It is not necessary to expand abbreviations. For
example, the instruction “Enter your PIN” should not be expanded to “Enter your Personal
Identity Number”.
In some cases, where the meaning is ambiguous, it may be necessary to embellish. For
example, if there are two “Next” buttons on an interface, one referring to the next programme
and the other to the next page of information. In this case, it may not be possible for the user
to know which is being spoken, so expanding them in the spoken output to “Next
programme” and “Next page” can be useful.

Provide spoken equivalents for images (high priority)
If images provide information that is not also provided in the text, that information should be
spoken.
Speaking the information in an image is not the same thing as describing the image. What it
looks like may be irrelevant. It is what it means that is important. For interactive elements,
such as buttons, the meaning is what it does. This should be spoken briefly, e.g. “Home” or
“Next” rather than “Home button” or Select for Next”.
A good example is shown in figure 18, where programme names are followed by coloured
icons containing numbers that give additional information. The numbers and colours are only
visual representations of the information. It is the information that the icons represent that
should be spoken, such as: “first run” and “recorded on tuner number 3”.




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                   Figure 19. Informative icons that need to be described.

Describe information that is implicit in the visual layout (high priority)
Information that is not expressed in individual text or graphical items but which can be
inferred by sighted users from the visual layout of a screen should be spoken. For example,
a programme guide may provide options to be displayed as either a list view or a grid view.
A sighted user will immediately recognise which view is being displayed when they see it,
due to the layout. This is important information because the expected information and the
interaction methods may be different for each view.
This information should be given in speech by describing the view type on opening. For
example, “programme guide, list view” or “programme guide, grid view”.

Describe menus, options and values (high priority)
When a menu first appears, speak all of the following information:
 The name of the menu.
 The number of items in the menu.
 The number of the currently selected item, if there is one.
 The name of the currently selected item.
 The current value of the selected item, if a value is shown.
When a new menu item is selected, it is sufficient just to speak its name, number and value.
When a new value is selected for an item, speak the item and value.
The following collection of screenshots shows a sequence of steps through a menu, with
approriate speech output for each step.




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User action: press System Setup button




                                                     Speech output:
                                                     “system setup menu, 8 items, 1,
                                                     picture settings”




User action: press down arrow




                                                     Speech output:
                                                     “2, sound settings”




User action: press Select button




                                                     Speech output:
                                                     “sound settings selected”
                                                     “sound settings menu, 6 items,
                                                     audio output, stereo, use left and
                                                     right arrow keys to change audio
                                                     output”




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User action: press right arrow




                                                     Speech output:
                                                     “audio output, mono”




User action: press down arrow




                                                     Speech output:
                                                      “volume, 3, use left and right arrow
                                                     keys to change volume”




User action: press right arrow




                                                     Speech output:
                                                     “volume, 4”




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When the volume of the speech output itself is being increased, each increment – “speech
volume 5”, “speech volume 6”, etc. – should be spoken at the increased volume level.

Read numbers and dates in a natural way
Numbers should be spoken in a way that makes most sense given the context. This could
be one of:
   a natural number, e.g. “one thousand nine hundred and eighty four”;
   a date, e.g. “nineteen eighty four”;
   digit by digit, e.g. “one nine eight four”.
The day can be spoken in a number of ways, again depending on what is likely to be most
easily understood. Take into account that the user may be unaware of the surrounding
contextual information. Possible ways of speaking a day are:
   the name of the day, e.g. “Wednesday”;
   the date;
   a relative value, such as “yesterday”, “today” or “tomorrow”.

How you could test for this
Test prototype speech output with a number of blind users, using a Wizard-of-Oz
methodology, to determine whether users find it informative, sufficient, succinct and
satisfying. The Wizard-of-Oz methodology enables the tests to be carried out at an early
stage, before the speech output is implemented, by using an experimenter to act the part of
the speaking user interface. Tests should be task-based, in which users are required to
understand and react to the information provided as speech in order to carry out typical
viewing, navigation and set-up tasks. While the user operates the visual interface using the
remote control, the experimenter speaks what the interface would output in response to
each user action. This allows various approaches or variations of speech output to be trialled
without the cost of implementing any of them first.

Give the user control

Rationale
The choice of what to speak, how much and when, is always an attempt to give the user the
information they need without overloading them with too much information, which can be
both annoying and distracting. What is needed and what is too much will vary from one user
to another, depending on their familiarity, their ability to process information and their
personal preferences. It is therefore very useful for individual users to be able to control the
amount of information that is spoken.
A high verbosity mode which provides more detailed descriptions and instructions can be
very useful for new users or those who have difficulty understanding or remembering the
interface. A low verbosity mode may be preferred by experienced users.
The clarity of particular voices varies from person to person, so it can be useful to allow
users to control voice characteristics such as accent, pitch and volume. Control over speed
is also very useful. Users of spoken output (in computer screen reading software for
example) often increase the speed as they get more used to it, up to a point far beyond what
is understandable to a novice user. This increases efficiency and reduces frustration.
As previously noted, many users of spoken output watch television in a family or communal
situation with other viewers who may not need or want the spoken output. It therefore helps
if the speech can be easily enabled and disabled. This makes the equipment suitable for a



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wider range of users, including, for example, families with one blind member who do not
want a television that talks all the time but would like to have the facility available.
To allow maximum control, it is useful to have dedicated buttons on the remote control for
enabling and disabling spoken output, repeating and stopping speech.

Directions and techniques

Give the option of turning on spoken output at start up and during operation
A message should be spoken when the receiver is started up asking users whether they
would like spoken output, if it is not already enabled from the previous session. If not
activated within a particular time limit, the receiver can default to no speech. This start up
message should include instructions for enabling or disabling speech during operation, if this
is different from the method at start up.

Provide a means to easily switch the spoken output on and off
In addition to providing an option within the set-up menus for switching spoken output on or
off, a means should be provided for the user to do this while watching a programme without
leaving the program to go to the menu.
The most usable method is to have a button on the remote control assigned to toggling the
spoken output.

Allow the user to stop or repeat the spoken output
A dedicated button “stop speaking” button on the remote control should be provided to allow
users to cut short the spoken output when they have heard what they need to know and
before it has finished speaking.
A ‘repeat’ button can be provided to repeat the last spoken output or, if it is currently
speaking, restart the current speech from the beginning. If the information has changed
since the last presentation, for example the time, the updated information should be
presented rather than repeating the previous information.
In some cases, it may be useful to add additional information when repeating, such as
navigation information for the current screen.

Give the user control over how much is spoken
Allow users to change the verbosity of the spoken output.
In high verbosity mode, the output can include detailed instructions on how to operate the
equipment. For example, when entering the programme guide it might announce “Use the
arrow buttons on your remote control to select a programme. Press up or down to go to the
next or previous channel. Press left or right to go to the next or previous programme. To
watch the currently selected programme, press the Select button.”.

Giving the user control over how it is spoken
Users should be able to control the presentation of speech. This can include changing the
volume of the speech output independently of the television volume, changing the speed
and pitch of the spoken output and selecting from a range of voices, including male and
female of different accents.

Retain spoken output settings
Settings should be stored in a way that ensures they persist over time and are unaffected by
powering down or system software upgrades.




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            Documentation and consumer information
Documentation and consumer information refers to any piece of promotional or support
information that accompanies a product or service. This includes information that is made
available before purchase, during the ordering process or provided to the customer along
with the product or service. This includes instruction manuals, quick start guides and product
information. It may be provided in print, online, by telephone or built into the product. It may
be in the form of text, graphics or audiovisual.
Consumers are presented on a daily basis with an abundance of information through media,
the internet, mobile communications and other sources. An overload of information on
products and services can cause considerable confusion. When information is clear, concise
and understandable, it not only supports usability, it makes the entire customer experience
more positive and enjoyable.
Products and services that have been designed to address a range of needs can in fact be
made unusable if the information that accompanies them is itself not accessible and
understandable. Documentation and consumer information is therefore a key catalyst for
ensuring that a product or service is universally designed.

Ensure that information can be understood by all users

Rationale
Documentation is the link between a user and the product or service. If a user cannot
understand the information that accompanies the product or a service, they will be unable to
use it to its full potential, or in some cases at all. If a potential user cannot understand
information about a product or service that they wish to order, they may not order it and the
provider may lose a valuable customer.
A lot of people find instructional information very difficult to follow. Information that is overly
technical or that is not written for the widest possible audience will confuse and frustrate
users. Information that is clear, concise and understandable will be of benefit to even the
most tech-savvy of users. Almost every user can understand clear concise guidelines, while
only a minority can understand technical guidelines. Even very tech savvy users will
appreciate instructions that are well thought out and designed for ease of use.
The more users are able to understand the documentation, the more they will be able to use
the product or service independently. This will result in fewer customer service calls to be
answered by the service provider.

Directions and techniques

Use simple language in written and verbal communications (high priority)
Write the instructions for the least experienced user, not the most experienced. Wherever
possible, use clear, concise, non-technical language, according to Plain English guidelines.
This approach uses short sentences and avoids jargon and complicated words or phrases. It
helps readers to understand something the first time they read it.
        “If it was more plain English. Just ordinary words. You don’t have to have all
       the big words.”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.
Organise instructions around user tasks, rather than system components. Where a number
of assembly and/or installation steps are required, it is helpful to number the steps in
sequence and to include a text and graphic image for each step.



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Application forms should also be designed in a way that makes them easy to understand
and complete. By making both the content and the layout clear and concise, users will know
what information is required, in what form and where to enter it. Follow Plain English
guidelines for forms.
Customer service representatives should also be able to describe technical terms in a non-
technical way.
       “Most try to help and are patient but you need tech knowledge.”
       “Difficult to access specific information by phone. Marketing people do not
       understand the lack of knowledge of old people in the "press-button" age. Old
       people have poor skills in choosing in this digital age. Instructions too
       complicated. Lack clarity.”
       – Guidelines survey respondents.

Give relevant information in a logical order (high priority)
Identify the key information that the user is most likely to require and ensure that it is up front
and as prominent as possible. In many cases it can help to imagine that the instructions are
telling a story, walking the user through an action step-by-step. Starting with a list of the
required components, explain how these should be prepared, then give step-by-step
instructions in the exact order in which they should be carried out.

Provide at least the key information in a number of different ways
Exploit the fact that people take in information in different ways. Provide key information in
both text-based and graphical forms.

Provide a way for users to get further clarification
Provide clear information about sources of further information, such as a contact number, an
email address or a website. Remember that not every user will have internet access and not
every user can use a telephone, so providing a range of options is key to meeting the needs
of as many users as possible.

How you could test for this
To find out whether efforts to make documentation and information understandable will be
successful, it is necessary to test it with a wide range of users, including people with low
literacy, cognitive impairments and reading disorders. This can be done by asking the users
to set up and use the product or service by referring to the documentation. Further tests
could also be included within general long term user trials encompassing the whole process
of setting up, learning and using the product or service.

Ensure that information is available to every user in a form that is
accessible to them

Rationale
Documentation and consumer information can be provided in a variety of forms – text,
graphics, audio, video, etc. – and through a variety of channels – print, online, email,
telephone, etc. For each form and channel, there will be some users for whom it is not
accessible. For example, people with sight loss, low literacy or reading disorders may find it
difficult or impossible to read printed information. People who are deaf or hard of hearing will
have difficulties with audible information or telephone conversations. Online information can
be designed to be accessible to the widest audience but not everyone has access to the
internet or email.



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Directions and techniques

Adopt a widely accessible standard format for printed information (high priority)
Adopt a standard print format that is as accessible as possible to the largest number of
people, within the constraints of branding, marketing considerations and production costs.
Making the standard format as accessible as possible minimises the need to produce
additional formats for individual users.
Aim for clarity at all time when choosing a typeface or designing a layout. If in doubt, keep it
simple.
An appropriate standard format may, for example:
   use a font size that is easily read by the widest range of users possible. Depending on
    the typeface used, 12 point could be considered as the minimum type size for standard
    format. 14 point is commonly used, so more people can access the standard format.
    Print above 16 point is considered to be large print. Be printed on matte finish paper, not
    glossy;
   Use a good contrast with a plain background for text;
   Be written in easy to read language, using a mixture of text and graphics.
For more detailed guidance, refer to Plain English and Make it Clear guidelines and the
section on Literature and Application forms in the Smart Card Guidelines.

Make digital and online information accessible to people with disabilities (high
priority)
Online documentation should be made accessible to users with disabilities by following the
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) from the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI),
part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). By following these guidelines it is possible
to make web-based documentation maximally accessible to almost all users, without
compromising significantly on its design and functionality. The result will be a flexible format
that individual users can transform to meet their needs by resizing it, changing the colours,
having it read out as speech or converting it to Braille for example.
WCAG is the de facto international standard for web content accessibility and is referenced
in legislation in a number of countries. In Ireland, compliance with WCAG at level AA is
recommended in the NDA Code of Practice on Accessibility of Public Services and
Information provided by Public Bodies. This is an approved code of practice for the purposes
of the Disability Act, 2005 and relates to sections 26, 27 and 28 of the Act which cover
access to information and services.

Supply additional accessible formats where required (high priority)
Users who cannot read the standard printed information and do not have access to online
documentation (e.g. those without internet access) should be able to request the information
in additional formats that meet their needs. These may include large print (of various sizes),
Braille or audio.
Information on accessible formats can be found in The NDA publication First Steps in
Producing Accessible Publications.
Information contained in an alternative format should be equivalent to that contained in the
standard format. This may require information that is presented using diagrams or screen
shots to be made available within the text instructions.




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How you could test for this
Online documentation and information sources should be tested for accessibility and
usability. This testing can take the form of an audit or user testing, including testing by
people with disabilities. An accessibility audit can be conducted on all key sections of the
website to ensure that they adhere to the relevant web accessibility guidelines. The Centre
for Excellence in Universal Design at the National Disability Authority provides guidelines on
web accessibility auditing which describe how to commission and what outputs to expect.

Include as much useful information as possible with the product

Rationale
The instructions that accompany a piece of equipment are potentially the most critical source
of information for users. If they are not accessible and understandable, many users will be
unable to set up or use their equipment without assistance. This assistance is often at the
expense of the service provider as they have to answer customer queries, customer
complaints, carry out home visits or in some cases they risk losing the customer’s business
completely. A manual or guide that enables as many people as possible to set up and use
their equipment as independently as possible is of benefit to both the service provider and
the customer.
Research by Accenture has estimated that in 2011 “US consumer electronics (CE)
manufacturers, communication carriers and electronics retailers will spend an estimated
$16.7 billion to receive, assess, repair, rebox, restock and resell returned merchandise”.
According to this research for more than two thirds of these costs (over $11 billion US
Dollars) the products did not meet the customer’s expectations, or the customer believed
that there was something wrong with the product, when in fact it was working perfectly.
The packaging that equipment arrives in is the first part of the product that a user sees. The
information provided on the package has the power to “make or break” the set-up and
installation of any piece of equipment. It therefore needs to be clear, concise and contain the
essential information in order to minimise confusion and mistakes. This is of particular
importance for people who have little of no prior experience of setting up or using the
equipment in question.

Directions and techniques

Identify the most useful information to include (high priority)
Design information around the out-of-box experience. The customer’s experience, from
purchasing a product to successfully using the product, should involve a natural task flow in
which the required information is available when it is needed. It is useful to storyboard this
task flow from the user’s point of view, starting with reading the packaging, opening it,
retrieving the parts, putting them together, installing them in the home, plugging in, switching
on and so on, right through to successfully watching television programmes and using all the
equipment’s functionality. Walking through this process, ask “what does the user need to
know at this point?”.
Convey clear information about the functions of the equipment. Where appropriate, use
official recognised logos.
Include instructions for common home connecting scenarios for common combinations of
equipment.
Provide a trouble shooting guide, including information about when the user needs to reboot
the system.
Identify the most frequently asked questions to the customer service helpline. Revise the
instruction manual to address the most common issues.


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Include essential information on the packaging itself (high priority)
Identify and prioritise the key user information that must be included on the different layers of
packaging. For example, the packaging might (1) identify the product, (2) list the product
specifications, (3) list what is included in the packaging, (4) list what is not included in the
packaging but is needed for the product to work, and so on. Identify which of these pieces of
key information must be on the outermost packaging, which can be on the secondary
packaging and which can be placed on the equipment itself (e.g. a Quick Set Up Guide
sticker on the top of a set top box, which easily peels off).
Identify the critical steps that the user must take between opening the packaging and setting
up the equipment. Can this be simplified? If possible, keep the initial set-up to a small
number of critical steps (e.g. three steps to “Quick Set Up”). Print these clearly on the
packaging itself and number them. More detailed guidance can then be provided in the
instruction manual or user guide.
Identify any other critical information, such as “How to check for digital reception” and
include information about this on the packaging.
The packaging may contain lots of different pieces of information aimed at people, other
than the user. For example, the product code for manufacturing staff and the product name,
specifications and bar code for retail staff. This information should be grouped and
presented in a way that distinguishes it from the information aimed at the user.

Provide information about the accessibility features of the product (high priority)
The packaging information should include details of any accessibility features that are
included in the equipment. This may be the deciding factor for a customer buying this
product or selecting one that is clearly labelled as having a particular accessibility feature.
If there is an accessibility help line or specific access services, this should be included on
the packaging information.

How can you test for this?
Run user tests with users from a range of age groups and including people with low literacy,
cognitive impairments and reading disorders. Ask them to unpack, set up and use the
product by referring to the information provided. It is particularly important to include people
who have difficulty with technology (whether this is to do with sensory, cognitive or physical
limitations or due to lack of experience with technology), but also include tech savvy users.
User testing only with existing customers is not effective, as they are already able to use the
technology. It is important to get feedback from people who are unable to use it at all (and
hence are not customers) if you are to find design solutions for the problems they encounter.
Identify the most frequently asked questions to the customer service helpline. These will
help you to identify what customers are looking for in a product and what they are not getting
from your product as it is currently designed. Revise documentation and customer
information accordingly.
Talk to your customers, request feedback on what they like and what they do not like. Let
this information guide the design of both the equipment and the accompanying information.




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                Programme Content




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                 Introduction to Programme Content
In designing and presenting television programme content, the aim should be to ensure that
it can be perceived, understood and enjoyed by the maximum number of its intended
viewers. There are two areas where particular attention must be paid in order to make sure
that this aim is achieved:
   The presentation of text and graphics displayed within a programme. For example,
    competition entry instructions, opening and closing credits, contact telephone numbers,
    names of people being interviewed, foreign language subtitles, website addresses,
    sports scores, scrolling news tickers, and so on.
   Access services provided for people with sensory impairments or language difficulties.
    These include interlingual subtitles, dubbing, captions, audio description and visual
    signing.
For text and graphics displayed within a programme, the aim should be to ensure that the
information they contain is available, readable and understandable for all viewers.
For access services, the aim is to ensure they can be correctly read, heard or seen and that
they are understandable, informative, unobtrusive and contribute to the enjoyment of
watching the programme. Access services include the following:
Interlingual subtitles: On-screen text included as subtitles within a programme to provide a
translation from the language spoken or written in the programme to another language.
Commonly used to translate imported foreign language programmes into the national
language. Also used to translate programmes into the natural languages of different sections
of the viewing population.
Captions: On-screen text included as subtitles within a programme to convey the
information contained in the programme audio (speech and other important sounds) to
viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing. Referred to in the UK and Ireland using the more
general term ‘subtitles’.
Audio description: A narrative voiceover inserted between the dialogue and other
programme sounds to convey the information provided by visual content to viewers with
vision impairments.
Visual Signing: The use of a sign language (one that uses hand shapes, movement, body
language and facial expressions to convey meaning) to convey the information contained in
the programme audio (speech and other important sounds) to viewers who are deaf.
Spoken subtitles: A spoken voice that reads aloud interlingual subtitles for viewers with
vision or reading impairments. This can be either included with the programme or generated
by the viewer’s receiver using speech synthesis.
Dubbing: The editing of the audio track to replace voices in one language with voices in a
different language.
Lectoring: A spoken narration over the existing audio which is reduced in volume but can
still be heard in the background. Sometimes used in preference to dubbing, which is similar
but completely replaces the original audio.
This section includes detailed guidelines for the main access services – subtitles, captions,
audio description and visual signing.




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       Text and graphics displayed within a programme
While watching a programme, viewers may see various messages displayed on screen as
part of the programme content. These include competition entry instructions, opening and
closing credits, contact telephone numbers, names of people being interviewed, website
addresses, sports scores, scrolling news tickers, and so on. This text should be written and
presented in a way that all viewers can access and understand.
It may be difficult or impossible to retrofit existing programmes with more readable, legible or
understandable text and in some cases there may exist rights issues with translation of
foreign content. However, producers of all new programme content should aspire to adhere
to these guidelines to the greatest extent possible.
Production costs can be a constraint for programme development and many television and
film projects have strict budgets. With this in mind, it should be noted that most of the
recommendations in this section refer to text that should have at least some degree of
flexibility in its format and layout. If these guidelines are adopted from the beginning of the
planning and production phases, they should not incur any extra costs. For example, if a
decision is made at the start of production, it costs nothing to use a larger text size and a
more legible colour combination for phone numbers, embedded captions and the like.
The guidelines in this section apply only to text within the programme picture. They do not
apply to subtitles or captions that are provided as textual data alongside the programme.
Neither do they apply to metadata about the programme (name, synopsis, etc.) that is
displayed on screen by receiver equipment. These issues are dealt with in other sections.
However, many of the requirements for making embedded programme text universally
accessible are the same as the requirements for subtitles, captions and receiver-displayed
text.

Ensure that the text is readable by all users including those with limited
vision or reading disorders

Rationale
People with vision impairments may have difficulty reading text that is not in large, clear
static type and contrasted well against the background.
       “Colour…. (blue on blue) can make it hard to read.”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.
People with colour vision deficiency can have problems with particular combinations of
colours. Similar problems may occur within graphics. In addition to the text and graphics
itself, poor layout or the existence of moving content that distracts the eye can make reading
difficult. Some of these problems also affect people with reading disorders, even if their
vision is perfect.

Directions and techniques

Ensure that text and graphics appear within the area of the screen that can be clearly
seen (high priority)
All informational text and graphics should appear within the title safe area. That is the visible
area where the text will not be cut regardless of the over scan (margin of the video image
that is normally not visible) of the television used.




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Use a clear typeface and lettering for easy on-screen reading (high priority)
To ensure readability, use a screenfont – a typeface that has been specifically designed for
viewing on television displays at typical viewing distances.
The text size should be sufficient to be readable across a wide range of visual acuity. The
recommendation of DigitalEurope in the Industry Self-Commitment to Improve the
Accessibility of Digital TV Receiving Equipment Sold in the European Union is to use 24 line
minimum for body text and 18 minimum for upper-case text on a 576 line display.
Italic, underlined, oblique, condensed, all upper case or fancy fonts can cause problems for
some people and should be avoided in favour of plain, mixed case lettering.
Blinking or moving text or graphics should be avoided as it can be difficult to track and can
distract the eye, making it difficult to read other static text.

Carefully choose colours and colour combinations (high priority)
A sufficient contrast between text and its background is required for it to be easily
distinguished and read. Dark colours on a light, non-patterned background or light colours
on a dark background can both be used. Combinations of red and green should be avoided
since they can be difficult to differentiate for people with the most common form of colour
vision deficiency. Saturated or bright colours such as pure white or absolute black should
also be avoided. The European Industry Self-Commitment recommends that colours be
limited to an absolute maximum of 85% saturation to avoid text appearing to distort or flicker.
Graphics should be treated in a similar way to text, with similar requirements for contrasts
between adjacent, overlaid or background colours.
Information should not be presented using colour alone. There is nothing wrong in using
colour to indicate meaning, as long as it is not the only indication.

Adopt a layout that makes reading easy
In cases where there is a lot of text, for example the introductory or background text that
appears at the beginning of some films or programmes, use left-aligned text in preference to
centred, right-aligned or justified text. Left-aligned text is generally easier to read.
Use short paragraphs in preference to long ones.
Avoid using multiple columns as these can lead to content comprehension problems or
disorientation for some users. If multiple columns are used, ensure there is a sufficient
margin between columns and an adequate column width.
Text should have adequate line and paragraph spacing. Recommended line spacing is at
least half the height of the text. Recommended paragraph spacing is one and a half times
the line spacing.

How you could test for this
To find out whether text is readable, it is necessary to run tests with a wide range of viewers,
including people with a range of vision impairments and people with reading disorders such
as dyslexia. These tests can be carried out in the viewer’s own home and could be run as a
questionnaire in which the user has to report back the information they see on the screen,
with feedback about how easy it was to read.

Ensure that information is available to users with no sight

Rationale
Information that is presented on screen in the form of text or graphics must also be made
available in an audible form for non-sighted people.



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Directions and techniques

Provide spoken output of text
The only way to make all visual text available to people with no vision is to have it spoken.
There are two ways to speak this information:
   As part of an audio description track.
   By the presenter, narrator or reporter, as part of the programme audio itself.
For programmes with an audio description track, the dialogue and other sounds will have to
be paused for long enough to allow the information to be spoken in the audio description.
This is difficult in some cases because presenters often want to continue speaking while the
information is shown. Also, the time taken to speak the information in the audio description is
usually less than the time the information needs to be displayed to give viewers long enough
to read it. The best editorial decision is often not to rely on audio description but to ensure
that the presenter, narrator or reporter reads out the information during the programme. This
is always necessary for programmes without an audio description track.
Information such as contact details or details of entry into a competition should be read out
clearly, and in full. Email or online addresses should be read out letter by letter (or number
by number) if they cannot be voiced as easily understood words. Bear in mind that people
who have been blind since birth or an early age have relied on hearing rather than visual
reading so often have difficulties spelling words. Unless an address consists of common
words that are spelled phonetically, it is usually best to spell it out letter by letter.
In quiz shows where information shown to the viewer is hidden to the contestants, a
voiceover can be used to call out information that is visible and not described by the quiz
show presenter.
Contributors (such as news readers or people being interviewed) should be identified
verbally on their first appearance, or at some other editorially logical point.
In some cases it may be possible for subtitles of foreign language contributions to be
translated in the main programme language using a voiceover.

Provide spoken descriptions of important graphics
As much of the pertinent information presented in graphics as possible should be described
verbally. For example, rather than simply saying “as you can see, the figures show a big
change and it’s betting bigger”, a presenter could say “the figures show an increase of 45%
since 2007 and 30% in the past year alone”.
It may help to instruct the narrator or presenter to imagine that he or she is describing the
information to radio listeners.

How you could test for this
The simplest test for this is for a researcher to watch programmes with the screen hidden
and listen out for any instances where textual information is referred to but not fully
described in speech. However, this can be quite difficult and disorientating for a person who
is not used to it, so it may be better to get the input of blind viewers.
Blind viewers will be able to give feedback on their experiences watching a television
programme and the information can be collected by telephone interview after the
programme. However, it is also useful to run some tests where the researcher sits with the
viewer while they watch the programme. This is because it is difficult for a blind person to
record instances of missing information while they are watching the programme and they
may not remember all of them if asked afterwards.




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Ensure that information can be understood by all users

Rationale
People with low literacy, reading disorders, cognitive or intellectual impairments may have
difficulty reading, understanding and remembering text and graphical symbols. Particularly if
they are not simple, familiar and unambiguous or if they are displayed for only a short time.

Directions and techniques

Allow sufficient reading time (high priority)
Where possible, information should remain on display until it is absolutely necessary to
remove it or for long enough for users who require more time to read.

Use simple language and intuitive symbols
Acronyms, abbreviations and jargon words should be avoided in preference for complete,
standard words and phrases.
For numbering, Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, ...) are more recognisable and easier to understand
than Roman numerals (I, II, III, i, ii, ...).
For English language instructions or explanatory text, follow Plain English Guidelines as far
as possible. Guidance on how to write instructions and descriptions in Plain English is also
available on the Simply Put website.

Tell viewers where additional or supplementary information can be found
If complicated information is being portrayed (for example, detailed results and statistics
presented during an election count), clearly announce where further information can be
found. For example, provide the web address or appropriate contact details for further
information.




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                Translating, Subtitling and Captioning
To cater for viewers who are not fluent in the language of the programme, synchronised
translations of the speech into another language can be presented in one of three ways:
   Dubbing, in which a new audio track is created by voice-over actors in the target
    language.
   Lectoring, in which a spoken narration is created in the target language and played over
    the existing audio which is reduced in volume but can still be heard in the background.
   Subtitles, in which a translation is created in the target language and displayed as on-
    screen text within the programme.
Subtitles are not only used for language translations. They may be provided with a
programme for one of two purposes:
   To convey spoken dialogue, written signs, etc. in a different language.
   To convey all programme audio (speech and other important sounds) to viewers who are
    deaf or hard of hearing.
In Ireland and the UK, both types are usually referred to using the general term ‘subtitles’.
Internationally, it is becoming more common to use the specific term ‘captions’ when
referring to subtitles for deaf or hard of hearing viewers. To avoid confusion, these
guidelines use the terms in the following way:
   Interlingual subtitles: Subtitles that translate the programme dialogue into a different
    language.
   Captions: Subtitles that convey the programme audio as text for viewers who are deaf
    or hard of hearing.
   Subtitles: Either of the above two.
Some of the guidelines in this section apply equally to both types of subtitles – captions and
interlingual subtitles. For example, the guidelines concerning reading speeds. Other
guidelines apply only to captions for deaf or hard of hearing viewers. For example,
captioning sound effects.
Captions are vitally important for the full understanding and enjoyment of television
programmes by people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Television is an audiovisual
medium and the audio aspect is often as important or more important than the visual aspect.
A simple experiment shows this. For a single evening, watch your normal television
programmes with the sound turned off. The next evening, watch with the sound on but the
picture off. Depending on the types of programmes, you may find that muting the sound
removed far more information than turning off the picture. In particular, for news, current
affairs, interviews and chat shows, almost all of the information is contained n the spoken
words. This may also be true for many dramas, movies and documentaries. This illustrates
the importance of captions.
Good subtitling requires great skill in balancing different considerations. It is not simply a
matter of translating the spoken dialogue accurately into text or another language. The
maximum rate at which words can be spoken far exceeds the rate that a written transcript
can be read. It may therefore not be feasible to provide a full translation. But it is still
necessary to give the equivalent meaning, so some careful editing may be required. For
captioning, it is not only the speech that needs to be conveyed. Captions may also need to
convey tones of voice, non-speech utterances, background noises, music and incidental
sounds, plus information about the sounds, such as which person or direction they are
coming from. Balancing the need to caption all relevant audio content with the need to allow
adequate reading time is an art. The BBC Online Subtitling Editorial Guidelines, which


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concern captioning (though referred to as subtitling), give an idea of the flexibility required of
subtitlers:
       “Good subtitling is a complex balancing act ... It will never be possible to apply
       all of the guidelines all of the time, because in many situations they will be
       mutually exclusive ... different types of content, different items within an AV
       clip, and even different sections within an item, will require different subtitling
       approaches.” – BBC Online Subtitling Editorial Guidelines
Live subtitling involves still more complication. A good introduction to live subtitling and the
limitations of the technologies used is given by the BBC See Hear programme - How
Subtitles Are Made. The programme discusses the problems that viewers often have with
subtitles, particularly live subtitles. Problems such as delays, misspellings, missing
information and not having enough time to both read the subtitles and watch the action on
screen. The programme shows how live subtitles are created using the respeaking method
and gives insights into why it is difficult to avoid all of these problems.

Provide translations in the languages of significant audience segments

Rationale
In multilingual regions or those with a large immigrant population there may be a significant
number of viewers whose first language, and the only one they are fluent in, is different from
the language of the programme. To fully understand and enjoy the programme content, they
will need to be provided with a translation in some form.

Directions and techniques

Provide interlingual subtitles, dubbing or lectoring in the required languages
Language translations should be provided in one of three forms: interlingual subtitles,
dubbing or lectoring. See the introduction to this section for definitions of these terms.
Viewer’s preferences should be taken into account. In some regions, viewers are used to
one technique or the other and may have a preference for it simply because it is more
normal. In regions where dubbing is common for example, subtitles may be associated with
hearing impairments and viewers may be prejudiced and resistant to interlingual subtitles.
Conversely, in regions where dubbing is not used, viewers often think of dubbing as
something that destroys the atmosphere of a programme and may therefore prefer
interlingual subtitles.
Technical constraints may help determine the choice. Depending on the delivery system, it
may not be possible to include multiple closed subtitle streams or alternative audio streams
for viewers to choose between.
Production and delivery costs also need to be taken into account. The production of
alternative audio tracks is different from the production of text subtitles. The cost and
availability of skilled translators, subtitlers and voice-over actors may depend on which
technique is more commonly used for language translation in the region.

For programmes aimed at very young children, use dubbing or lectoring in preference
to subtitles
Children under the age of 6 who cannot yet read in their mother tongue need dubbing or
lectoring in order to follow a programme.




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Ensure that subtitles are easy to read

Rationale
Viewers will need to be able to read and understand the subtitles at the same time as taking
in the action on screen. There is a lot of information to process. While a subtitle is displayed,
the entire scene must be viewed including all objects, activities and interactions. To make
sense of the subtitles the speaking characters’ facial expressions must also be analysed,
including cues from lip-reading in the case of captions. In order to be sure of their
interpretations, viewers often need to flick their visual attention back and forth between the
subtitles and the visual scene, sometimes re-reading parts of a subtitle. This all takes time
and mental energy. Viewers may give up on programmes if they involve too much effort.
Subtitles must therefore be well written and presented in a way that makes reading and
understanding them easy. One of the biggest challenges is in allowing for a reading speed
that displays the subtitles for long enough to ensure that all viewers have enough time to
read them. Reading speed is a complex issue. It is affected by the quality of the subtitles,
the amount of action on screen and the complexity of the subject matter. The maximum
reading speed that a person can achieve will also vary according to their age, the degree
and duration of their deafness, their level of literacy, the extent to which they rely on
subtitles, their familiarity with subtitles, their familiarity with the programme or genre and
even the time of day, because this affects their alertness and concentration level.

Directions and techniques

Ensure subtitles are in standard readable language (high priority)
Without unnecessarily altering the meaning or the words that are spoken, write the subtitles
in normal written language, using standard punctuation.
For children, take account of the reading age and reword or reduce the text accordingly.

Present subtitles in blocks, not word-by-word
Subtitles should be displayed in blocks, rather than one word at a time. A subtitle that is
displayed one word at a time will take longer to read than the same subtitle displayed all at
once as a block. Studies carried out within the DTV4All project show that word-by-word
subtitles cause very chaotic reading patterns requiring almost twice as many visual fixations
as block subtitles. Fast readers may experience problems due to ‘getting ahead’ of the
subtitles and casting their eyes on gaps where no word has been displayed. This leads to
poorer comprehension compared with block subtitles.

Start and end subtitles at natural, logical points (high priority)
Subtitles should end at natural linguistic breaks, preferably sentence breaks. To reduce
reading time, two or more short sentences can be combined into a single subtitle.
Very long sentences that are too long to fit into a single subtitle can be broken into two or more
pieces using ellipsis (‘...’) or reworded to form two or more separate sentences and displayed
as consecutive subtitles.

Choose line breaks within a subtitle carefully
If a subtitle contains more than one line of text, a number of considerations should be used
to determine where best to put the line breaks:
   Each line should end at a natural linguistic break.
   Line breaks should minimise the distance the eye has to travel from the end of one line
    to the beginning of the next. This means that breaks may be different for left justified,
    centred, or right justified subtitles of the same text.


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   If left justified, centred and right justified subtitles are used together (for example to
    distinguish each speaker when captioning a conversation), line breaks can be used to
    better distinguish between them, by creating shorter lines.
   For centred or right justified subtitles, avoid very short phrases on one line followed by
    very long ones on the line below, otherwise the second line may be read first.
   Line breaks can be positioned to avoid disrupting the background picture.

Allow adequate reading time
For English language subtitles for a general audience, do not exceed 170 words per minute.
If possible, keep to about 140 words per minute. These limits apply to individual subtitles.
Even if an average of below 170 words per minute is achieved over a longer time period,
short bursts of dialogue or complex multi-speaker scenes may exceed this limit and cause
problems for viewers. The BBC online subtitling editorial guidelines contains a useful guide
to timings for example sentences of different lengths.
This may vary for different audiences. For example, for many pre-lingually deaf children,
experiments suggest that a presentation rate of 70-80 words per minute is best for English
language captions.
Allow extra time if the subtitles contain unfamiliar words, long numbers or labels or if the
scene contains several speakers, shot changes or a lot of action or detail to take in.

Use a clear visual presentation (high priority)
Subtitles should appear within the title safe area. That is the visible area where the text will
not be cut regardless of the over scan (margin of the video image that is normally not visible)
of the television used
Use a screenfont designed for viewing subtitles on television displays at typical TV viewing
distances.
Avoid scrolling or moving text as this can be difficult for some viewers to focus on.
Use mixed case lettering, except for label prefixes and other special cases.
For the display of subtitles, make sure the text contrasts well against the background. The
most legible colour combinations are blue on white, white on blue, red on white, white on
red, cyan on blue and blue on cyan. Use colours with a saturation index of less than 85% to
avoid distortion and flicker.
Consumer equipment can give users the option to change the text presentation such as
size, colour and background colour. It is useful to provide a number of preset options,
including a high contrast option. However, size changes should never result in text being
outside the visible area.

Position subtitles to avoid obscuring important content
Avoid obscuring any burnt-in subtitles or scrolling news tickers.
Avoid obscuring any part of a speaker’s mouth.
Avoid obscuring any important activity. For example, the usual position for subtitles, at the
bottom of the screen, may not be appropriate for a sport like snooker where the most
important activity often occurs around the black ball, which is at the bottom of the screen in
the common overhead shot.




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Ensure that subtitles match the timing of on-screen activity

Rationale
The display of subtitles should, as far as possible, match the onset and duration of the
associated on-screen activity. Delays in either the onset or disappearance of subtitles can
cause significant difficulties in following the programme. This is particularly important for
dramas and other programmes with continuous changes of shot.
Studies show that viewers direct their attention to the subtitle area as soon as speech starts
and may unnecessarily re-read captions that remain too long on the screen. Subtitles that
appear or disappear very close to shot changes or that persist over unrelated scenes can
cause considerable perceptual confusion.
For live subtitling using currently available methods, such as respeaking, it may be
impossible to synchronise exactly. However, every effort should be made to keep the delays
as short as possible. Delays of more than two seconds can cause significant difficulty, with
longer delays making the subtitles impossible to understand.

Directions and techniques

Synchronise subtitles with programme sound
Subtitles should not lag behind the dialogue or commentary.
Subtitle appearance should coincide with the start of speech because this is when viewers
will direct their attention to the subtitle area. Subtitle disappearance should coincide roughly
with the end of the corresponding speech segment. This is because viewers may
unnecessarily re-read captions that remain too long on the screen.
Synchronisation should occur at naturally occurring pauses in speech-sentence boundaries,
or changes of scene.

Avoid overrunning shot changes
Avoid subtitles overrunning shot changes. Shot changes that take place while a subtitle is
being read can cause the viewer to return to the beginning and re-read the subtitle.
If shot durations are short and changes frequent, it may not be possible to avoid overruns. In
this case, at least ensure that the subtitle does not appear or disappear within one second
either side of a shot change. ‘Anchoring’ the subtitle over a shot change by at least one
second gives the viewer time to adjust to the new picture.

Avoid combining logically separate elements into one subtitle
There may be some circumstances in which two utterances or sounds are logically separate
and should not be presented together in the same subtitle. An example is on a quiz show
where a question or prompt is followed, a short time later, by the answer from a contestant.
Viewers like to test their own skills by trying to answer the questions themselves, so the
answer should not be displayed at the same time as the question.

Caption all relevant audio content

Rationale
The aim of captioning is to give the information that a hearing person receives by listening.
Not only is information provided through dialogue and narration, but many other sounds, or
even a lack of sound, may also be vital to the understanding of content, context or plot. All of
these must therefore be conveyed through captions.




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Directions and techniques

Caption all speech (high priority)
All obvious speech should be captioned. Even that which does not appear to have any
important content. If a viewer knows that someone is speaking but does not know what they
are saying, they will not know whether they are missing something important. This causes
frustration and possible confusion.
Research from eye-tracking studies by Jensema has revealed that people look at the
captions in response to the facial movements of the people on screen, so if a person
speaks, it is assumed that a caption will appear.

Caption relevant sound effects (high priority)
Sound effects for action that is not visually obvious should be captioned. For example, a
doorbell, a distant gunshot or a ringing telephone. This includes incidental background
noises such as lively chatter in a crowd scene, which often gives important context or
atmosphere.

Describe music and songs (high priority)
Music contained in a programme should be captioned if it is part of the scene or if it is
important to convey context or atmosphere. This includes background or incidental music.
State the title if it is known and/or the type of music. For example, “Thumping disco music”.
For songs, caption the lyrics if they are important or if someone can be seen singing or
listening to them.

Identify periods of silence (high priority)
If there is a long period without any sounds that can be captioned, indicate this with a
caption such as “Long pause”. Otherwise, the viewer may wonder whether the caption
system has failed.

Report caption failures (high priority)
If captions fail, transmit an appropriately worded apology and explanation as early as
possible, then regularly after that.

Ensure that captions provide equivalent information

Rationale
The aim of captioning is to replace the information that a hearing person receives by
listening. The captions must therefore be equivalent to the programme audio, providing the
same information and meaning, but in a different form. Deaf and hard of hearing viewers
don’t necessarily need to receive the exact wording that is spoken, although this is the best
way of ensuring equivalence. But equivalent information also includes the information given
in tones of voice, non-speech utterances and other sounds, plus information about the
sounds, such as where they come from.

Directions and techniques

For speech, try to convey what is actually said (high priority)
As far as possible, caption the speech exactly as it is spoken. However, because people
generally speak much faster than the text of their speech can be read, it is often necessary
to edit the speech in order to shorten it. This should be done without altering its meaning or
‘flavour’. Some things to consider are:


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   Avoid changing the style by introducing words or phrases that conflict with the speaker’s
    nationality, age, cultural background, social context, etc.
   Do not simplify what is said, except in special circumstances (e.g. for young children).
   Do not simply edit out the joining words or phrases like "but", "so", "you know" and
    "actually". These can be important for meaning or feeling, so treat them in the same way
    as other text.
   Do no remove entire sentences. Instead, remove parts of a number of sentences. This
    makes it more likely that all of the meaning will be retained.
   Avoid removing the names of people being addressed. These are often important for
    following the plot.
   Do not remove any words that can be clearly lip-read. This usually includes the start or
    end of a speech if the speaker is visible. Lip-readers will easily notice this and the
    captions may appear deficient.

Do not censor speech (high priority)
Do not censor speech in order to remove language or ideas that may appear crude or
offensive. This is unnecessary and condescending. If the audible content is deemed suitable
for its intended audience, it is also suitable for a hearing impaired member of that audience.
The captioner’s comfort level when translating sexual or disturbing language should not be a
factor.

Identify individual sources (high priority)
If a scene contains a number of different speakers or sound sources, it should be clear
which caption belongs to which source. This can be done using labels, colour or positioning.
Captions can be labelled by adding a prefix giving the speaker’s name or identifying the
source. This works if the names are certain to be known to the viewer or if it is obvious, from
the name, which source is indicated. Labels can also be used when the source is not
visually apparent, such as someone off screen, a person in a crowd or a radio. It may only
be necessary to add the label to the first caption from that source. Subsequent captions from
that source may be obvious, or the source may be represented by colour after that.
Different colours can be used to identify different sources over a period of time if the sources
are clearly identified initially.
The position and justification of captions can be used if the speakers maintain their positions
on the screen. Left justified captions for a source on the left, right justified for a source on the
right and centred for a source in the middle.
If the source is off-screen and the location is important, a descriptive label or arrow that
points in the relevant direction can be used.
Speech should be distinguished from non-speech sounds so that the viewer does not think
that the sound being described was part of what someone said. A differentiator such as
upper case lettering or a different colour can be used. Song lyrics can be preceded by an
appropriate symbol indicating music. This may be a musical note character if the screen font
provides one, or the hash symbol, ‘#’ which resembles the sharp symbol in music.

Indicate tone of voice where critical to meaning (high priority)
Sometimes a speaker’s tone of voice conveys things like sarcasm that is not apparent from
the words spoken, the facial expression or body language. In this case, punctuation marks
such as ‘(!)’ should be used to indicate the intended meaning.
Similarly, the sound of someone’s speech may be important, and should be conveyed by
adding a description as a prefix, e.g. ‘(SLURRED)’.


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It may also be useful sometimes to use visual emphasis such as changes in case or colour
to emphasise individual words where this is critical to meaning.

Adopt recognised good practice style guidelines for captioning where
they exist
Conveying the relevant information as accurately as possible, in a way that is easy to read
and that fits into the time available to viewers to read it, is a skilled editorial task. There are a
number of captioning resources available that offer detailed guidance on how to achieve
this. These are very useful as sources of further guidance on techniques that may be used
to meet many of the functional guidelines presented here. They provide suggestions on such
matters as how to indicate different types of sounds, how to convey the speed or pace of
sound, when to indicate the name of the speaker and how to present text on screen for
maximum readability, and other aspects. They may cover stylistic considerations down to a
fine level of detail, such as whether to use onomatopoeia.
Some of these are official or recommended style guides for a particular organisation or
industry. An example is the bbc.co.uk Online Subtitling Editorial Guidelines which outline the
requirements for AV content commissioned by the BBC for bbc.co.uk. Another is as the
Closed Captioning Standards and Protocol for Canadian English Language Television
Programming Services, adopted by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters as the
mandatory guide to Canadian English language closed captioning for television.

Test the quality of subtitles and invite audience feedback
The best way to assess the quality of subtitles is to run user tests with members of the
intended target audience – non-native speakers or people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Tests should aim to assess all important characteristics, including readability,
comprehensibility, accuracy, completeness, timing and suitability for the programme content
and audience.
Broadcasters can also provide a way for viewers to give feedback on quality issues by
providing a telephone number that will accept both voice calls and texts along with other
quick access channels such as email and Twitter.




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                                 Audio description
The purpose of audio description is to replace the important visual content with equivalent
spoken information inserted as a narrative between the dialogue and other programme
sounds. Audio description is essential for the full understanding and enjoyment of television
programmes by people with vision impairments.
       "It’s a very complicated gangster film and I saw it without audio description and
       I switched off half way through thinking it was a load of rubbish. Then I saw it
       with audio description and I thought it was one of the best gangster films I’d
       ever seen."
       - Quote from a participant in a 2008 survey of blind and partially sighted
       people carried out by the Royal National Institute of Blind People in the UK.
The term ‘video description’ is often used to refer to audio description of audiovisual
material, with the term ‘audio description’ being used for the describing of visual
presentations in general, including theatre, sports and events.
It is not just vision impaired viewers who benefit from audio description. It can be very helpful
to any viewer who is unable to give the programme their full visual attention because they
are engaged in another task such as driving or cooking. A study of sighted older users by
the Audetel project showed that audio description improved comprehension and enjoyment
of a police drama programme.
A good description helps convey the situations, places, events and characters in a way that
brings the programme to life and allows the viewer to create a full mental ‘picture’. It must do
this with clarity and unobtrusively, taking into account the style and culture of the programme
and its intended audience.
These guidelines are intended for those wishing to get an idea of what good audio
description should be like and the basic rules it should follow. They are intended to answer
questions that broadcasters might have, such as:
   Which programmes should be described?
   When should descriptions be inserted?
   What content should be described?
   How should content be described?
   What should it sound like?
They should be sufficient to perform a general appraisal of an audio description but they do
not go down to the level of specific English linguistic mechanisms to use in different
situations. This level can, however, be very important for the ultimate quality of the
description. Those seeking to create professional audio description can therefore start here
but should go to other sources for more detailed fine-grained advice and training.
Different resources sometimes differ in their recommendations. These differences may seem
trivial at first, but some of them touch on very important issues that can make a big
difference to how the description is perceived by viewers.
An example illustrating differences of opinion occurs in Joe Clark’s critique of the ITC
Guidelines on Standards for Audio Description. The ITC recommends the use of present
continuous tense for ongoing activities. Joe Clark gives examples: “Mrs. Brady is unpacking
the groceries” and “Justin is mixing a martini”, describing this as being like “sighted friends
telling you what’s happening as you both sit in a movie theatre”. It makes the editorial voice
of the describer too apparent, as if the information is being given begrudgingly in response
to repeated requests from the viewer to know “What’s happening now?”. It also has the



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effect of continually “resetting the clock: He’s doing this. Now she’s doing this. Now he’s
doing that. You’re no longer watching a flowing program that unfolds moment by moment”.
These guidelines do not cover workflow issues or procedural tips, such as how best to
rehearse prior to recording. Again, these issues can have a significant affect on the quality
and also on the cost of audio description, so describers are encouraged to access some of
those other resources.



Prioritise programmes according to the costs and benefits of audio
description

Rationale
Given the cost of audio description, it is usually not possible to add descriptions to all
programmes. The decision on which programmes to prioritise should take into account both
the costs of the description and the benefits for viewers. The cost may vary for different
programmes, depending on the programme type, length and possibly other factors. For
broadcasters, there is likely to be a significant cost difference between buying in pre-
described programmes and producing or commissioning new descriptions. The benefits will
certainly vary because the addition of audio description benefits some programme types
more than others.

Directions and techniques

Prioritise the most popular programmes
If time, resource or technical constraints make it impossible to describe all programmes,
concentrate initial efforts on the most popular programmes. People with vision impairments
are no different in most respects to sighted people. They therefore like to watch the same
sort of programmes, with news, documentaries, dramas and special events being among the
most popular.

Prioritise programme types that benefit most
If time, resource or technical constraints make it impossible to describe all programmes,
prioritise programmes that contain a lot of important but describable action, such as dramas,
as these benefit most from audio description. Soap operas in particular often make use of
gestures and body language to convey emotion and intention which can be described. In
contrast, programmes that contain a lot of talking but little acting, such as chat shows, news
and current affairs, benefit least.
Quiz programmes and game shows may offer little opportunity for audio description because
they often have tightly-worded almost continuous scripts with few gaps in which to insert
descriptions.
Some programmes may be too fast moving for a description to be really helpful.

Describe the most relevant visual content

Rationale
It isn’t possible to describe everything that can be seen on screen, but it isn’t usually
necessary either. Vision impaired viewers will only want to know about the visual things that
are relevant and important in helping them to understand and enjoy the programme. These
are the attributes of people, places, objects, animals, actions or events that contribute to the
understanding and enjoyment of the programme and are not already identified or described



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in the programme audio. Given the variable amount of relevant information in a scene and
the variable amount of space between dialogue where descriptions can be inserted, it is
often necessary to prioritise information for inclusion within the description.

Directions and techniques

Describe what the viewer needs to know
This may include information about:
   who is in the scene, their appearance, age, etc.;
   what they are doing and what else is happening;
   when it is happening and how much time has passed;
   where things are happening (in the world, after scene changes and positions within the
    scene).

Prioritise the most essential things and move from the general to the detailed
When deciding what to include in the description, prioritise those things that are most
essential for understanding and appreciating the programme.
Describe context and generalities first, then add details as required.

Do not provide any more information than is visible or already known
Do not reveal details that are not known to sighted viewers. For example, when a new
character appears, do not name them unless they have already been referred to by name.
Instead, use a significant physical characteristic to identify or describe them, e.g. “A tall thin
man wearing a cowboy hat”. Similarly, do not use words that give away the relationships
between characters unless that relationship has already been revealed.

Describe visual details and positions
Where possible, include details that bring the scene to life and provide a richer source of
mental visualisation, such as size and even colour. Small details often have significance.
This is well illustrated by the following quote from a visually impaired participant in a survey
carried out by the Audetel project:
       “It may not mean much to me, but it might mean something. A man wearing a
       white shirt and dark trousers indicates somebody who is quite smart. If he’s
       wearing a tie, that also indicates tidiness and a seriousness of purpose.”
Most visually impaired people have at some time seen colours and have either retained the
visual memory of colour or can remember the significance and impact of a particular colour.
Describing positions of objects and directions of movement can help users organize the
information they hear.

Do not describe too much
Do not try to describe everything. It is not possible or even helpful to describe every visual
detail in a scene. A continuous running commentary can obscure other important sounds
such as voices, sound effects, music and even meaningful silences. Too much description
can ruin the ambience and may be tiring or annoying to listen to.




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Ensure that descriptions are accurate and unfiltered

Rationale
Audio description aims to replace important visual content with equivalent audible content.
Equivalence requires accuracy, objectivity and completeness. A description that is
inaccurate or subjective cannot possibly be equivalent. Given the time constraints and the
amount of visual information in a scene, absolute completeness is seldom possible. But
descriptors should strive to be impartial in what is included and what is left out. If not, they
are interpreting or censoring the content, which is discriminatory by nature.

Directions and techniques

Describe what is seen
The describer’s intention should always be to state what they see, not their interpretation of
what they see. This is often described as the ‘first golden rule’ of audio description. For
example, motivations and intentions should not be described because they are not directly
seen. However, visuals that are important for revealing motivations and intentions should be
described.
On the surface this ‘rule’ seems quite simple but it is sometimes difficult to achieve. For
example, suppose a character in a drama uses body language to demonstrate a particular
emotion that is very important to the plot. The ‘golden rule’ would say not to name the
emotion by saying the character is “angry” or “suspicious”, but to describe the body
language that gives the emotion away, such as “clenching her fists” or “frowning”. The
problem is that body language can be subtle and multifaceted. It may be difficult to describe
in a way that gives the same information as can be got from seeing it. A person clenching
her fists may be either angry or scared. A person frowning may be either suspicious or
confused. It may be clear by seeing the frown that it is a ‘puzzled expression’ or a
‘suspicious look’, but saying either of these could be seen as interpretation. However,
describing the action as “frowning” may risk provoking the wrong interpretation. Particularly
in cases where the correct interpretation relies on combining many contextual clues
including a collection of expressions or gestures, and describing them all is not possible. In
some cases, the clues may be intentionally imprecise so that different viewers will come up
with their own interpretations. These subtleties can make this guideline difficult to know how
to follow but this should not lead to it being ignored. It still stands that viewers do not want
the describer’s interpretation, they want to make their own interpretations and this is the crux
of the matter. The guideline is pointing at the general idea that it is not up to the describer to
tell the viewer what to think. Dealing with challenges like this is what makes audio
description a creative art that can be helped by guidelines and honed by experience and
audience feedback, rather than a science that can be precisely described in a set of exact
rules.

Do not censor
Do not leave out objects or actions just because they may be offensive. This is unnecessary
and condescending. If the content is deemed suitable for its intended audience, it is also
suitable for a vision impaired member of that audience. The describer’s comfort level when
describing content such as sexual acts or violence should not be a factor.

Be precise and consistent
Always use the unique names of people and objects rather than pronouns like “he” if there
could be any confusion about which is being referred to. If there is only one in the scene or it
is obvious for some other reason, pronouns can be used.




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When referring to a character, place, object or other item by name, use the same name
throughout the programme.
Use precise, vivid words. People frequently “walk” but they also “amble”, “stagger”, “shuffle”,
“saunter” or “stroll”. These words may more accurately describe the scene and may enable
the viewer to create a richer mental image.

Take account of what viewers already know
If an item has already been mentioned, e.g. “a vase”, refer to it as “the vase” as long as it is
clear which vase is being referred to.

Insert descriptions between the programme sounds

Rationale
The benefits of audio description will be reduced if it obscures speech or other important
sounds. It should therefore be used only in the audible gaps, though not necessarily in every
gap.

Directions and techniques

Avoid talking over dialogue or commentary
Avoid obscuring dialogue or commentary with audio description. This is sometimes referred
to as one of the ‘golden rules’ of audio description. Since dialogue and commentary are
important for understanding and enjoyment, obscuring them with description is generally
counterproductive. However, due to time constraints it is not always possible to fit the
required descriptions into the gaps between programme sounds. If it is more important for
the listener to hear a particular description than to hear the dialogue, then dialogue may be
sacrificed. This should be done carefully however and in a way that does not make it
obvious that dialogue has been removed. It would be wrong to mute the dialogue mid-
sentence because the viewer would then realise that dialogue has been removed and may
wonder if they have missed something important.

Avoid obscuring other important sounds
It is not only the dialogue and audio description that provides the information. Background
sounds like gunfire, shouting or a car pulling up can also convey vital information, so these
must not be obscured by description.

Do not try to fill very short gaps between dialogue
If the gaps between dialogue or commentary are too short, the audio description may be
more of a hindrance than a help.

Adopt a style that is easy to listen to and unobtrusive

Rationale
Viewers are not interested in the audio description itself. They just want the required
information spoken to them in a way that is most easily understood and enjoyed. The
description should therefore be recognisable as description rather than dialogue, but should
not draw undue attention to itself in a way that makes it obtrusive.




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Directions and techniques

Use present tense, active voice
Descriptions should generally use present tense and active voice. For example, “Malcolm
opens the suitcase” rather than “Malcolm is opening the suitcase” or “The suitcase is opened
by Malcolm”.

Use an appropriate tone of voice
Descriptions should be unobtrusive and neutral, but not lifeless or monotonous. Wherever
possible, use human speakers rather than synthesized speech.

Make sure the describer’s voice is not similar to any speaker’s voice
The describer’s voice should be noticeably different from those of the speakers in the
programme. This can be done by, for example, using a female describer for programmes
with predominantly male voices or using a different accent, though not one that is radically
alien to the intended audience.

Carefully control the volume of the programme audio and the description
The volume of the description should be constant.
The volume of the programme audio should be reduced, but not completely muted, while the
description is being spoken and restored when the description ends. If a background noise
such as traffic or laughter continues across three or four consecutive but closely spaced
descriptions, the volume can be kept low throughout, rather than bursting in and out
repeatedly.
If possible, music that has been quietened during a description should be reintroduced
quickly but not instantly, to avoid a sudden burst of sound.

Use language and a style of delivery that is consistent with the
programme content

Rationale
The role of audio description is simply to convey information. It should not add to or detract
from the feel or atmosphere of the programme. A description that is radically different in
language from the programme content or that uses an inappropriate tone can destroy the
feel.

Directions and techniques

Use language consistent with the nature of the programme
Use terminology, idioms, etc. that match the programme content. Otherwise the description
may well disrupt the feel or atmosphere and unnecessarily draw attention to itself.

Make the delivery fit the nature of the programme
In a tense thriller or drama, the delivery should be steady and where the background music
is menacing, the voice should reflect the tension, without becoming melodramatic. In
comedy, the narration should also be steady but can be delivered with a slight smile in the
voice, but never laughter.




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Adopt a language and style that is suited to the audience

Rationale
The audio description should convey the information in a way that is suited to the needs and
preferences of the audience, taking into account factors such as culture and age.

Directions and techniques

Use an accent that is suited to the audience
For locally produced programmes or programmes with no specific cultural reference, viewers
may prefer a familiar local accent for the audio description over a foreign accent. For
instance, a description for an Irish-based drama would generally work better for an Irish
audience if it were to use an Irish voice rather than an English or French voice. Not only will
this be easier for viewers to understand but it may be culturally more acceptable and will
help the audio description to sound like it has been created as an intrinsic part of the
programme rather than an add-on. This promotes the feeling of inclusion. A way to think
about this is to ask “if this programme featured a narrator, what sort of accent would be
expected?”.
How deep and widespread this preference is will depend on the cultural makeup of the
audience. The only way to know viewers’ needs and preferences in this respect is to ask
them.

For young children, adopt an appropriate language and style
For programmes aimed at young children the language should be simpler and a more
personal style can be adopted. For example, “we see a cat sitting on the wall”, rather than “a
cat sits on the wall”, as would be more appropriate for an adult audience.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) guidelines on Audio Description for
Children provide some useful general guidance in this area.

Adopt recognised good practice style guidelines where they exist
Conveying the relevant information as completely as possible, in a way that is easy to
understand and that fits into the time available, is a skilled editorial task. There are a number
of audio description resources available that offer very detailed guidance on how to achieve
this, including specific tips on the use of English linguistic mechanisms. For example, the
Audio Description Coalition Standards includes guidance such as:
       Use “while” and “as” to join two actions only if there is a connection between
       them: “John picks up the knife as Jill turns away.”
These are very useful as sources of further guidance on techniques that may be used to
meet many of the functional guidelines presented here.
They provide suggestions on such matters as how to indicate different types of sounds, how
to convey the speed or pace of sound, when to indicate the name of the speaker and how to
present text on screen for maximum readability, and other aspects. They may covering
stylistic considerations down to a fine level of detail, such as whether to use onomatopoeia.
Some of these are official or recommended style guides for a particular organisation or
industry. An example is the BBC online subtitling editorial guidelines which outline the
requirements for AV content commissioned by the BBC for bbc.co.uk. Another is as the
Closed Captioning Standards and Protocol for Canadian English Language Television
Programming Services, adopted by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters as the
mandatory guide to Canadian English language closed captioning for television.




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Test the quality of audio description and invite audience feedback
The best way to assess the quality of audio description is to run user tests with blind
viewers. Tests should aim to assess all important characteristics, including the
understandability, accuracy, objectivity, completeness, helpfulness, timing, volume level,
distinguishability, obtrusiveness, voice characteristics and suitability for the programme
content and audience.
Broadcasters can also provide a way for viewers to give feedback on quality issues by
providing a telephone number that will accept voice calls and texts along with other quick
access channels such as email and Twitter.




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                                   Visual Signing
Visual Signing is the use of a sign language to convey the information contained in the
programme audio (speech and other important sounds) to viewers who are deaf.
Sign languages use hand shapes, movement, body language and facial expressions to
convey meaning. Sign languages differ from country to country. For example, Irish deaf
people use Irish Sign Language, in India they use Indian Sign Language. Different sign
languages have their own unique grammar and vocabulary. Even within a country, there are
often regional dialects and differences in some of the signs used by different cultural groups.
It is a commonly held misconception that the provision of captions removes the need for
visual signing on television. This is false for two reasons:
   Sign Language is the first language of many members of the Deaf community who may
    be far less fluent in reading written English. It is therefore as important to them as a
    foreign translation of an English programme would be to a non-native English speaker.
   Language is not just about communicating speech. It is also about emotion, concept
    formation, identity and belonging. To a person born deaf who learned sign language as a
    child and uses it as their primary form of interaction with their peers, only sign language
    can communicate these vitally important aspects.
Sign language can be used in television programmes in two ways:
   As the native language used by the programme’s presenters, contributors and
    characters.
   As an interpretation of the speech and other sounds contained in a programme.
A sign language interpretation is usually created separately from the programme and must
be added into the programme video before delivery. An exception is where a signer is
present during the recording, such as when a sign language interpreter travels with a news
reporter to the scene of a news story.
Visual signing can be added using either an ‘open’ or ‘closed’ format. In the ‘open’ format,
the programme video is delivered as a single track, in which the image of the signer is
included within the video and is seen by all viewers. In the ‘closed’ format, the visual signing
is delivered with the programme, but in a way that allows the individual viewer the choice of
whether or not to view the signer. Closed visual signing can be achieved in one of two ways
– ‘broadcast mix’ or ‘receiver mix’. In broadcast mix, two separate video streams are
delivered, one containing the image of the signer and the other without. The viewer simply
chooses between the two. In receiver mix, the video of the signer is delivered as a separate
stream with synchronization information. The viewer’s receiver can then mix the two and
display the result, at the request of the viewer. Receiver mix potentially gives viewers greater
control over how the signer is displayed, allowing them to choose the preferred position and
size for example. It also has the benefit that the visual signing track can be delivered using a
different means, so terrestrial broadcasters with restricted bandwidth can deliver the video
signing over IP for example. This requires a hybrid receiver with the ability to mix the two
streams.
In contrast to subtitling, captioning and audio description, there is relatively little research
and guidance available on visual signing in television. Some of the guidelines here are
therefore somewhat speculative, paralleling issues that have been recognised for these
other access services and may be expected to be similar for visual signing. They may
therefore provide less guidance on what constitutes best practice and fewer tried and tested
techniques for achieving that. But they have been included in order to direct attention to the
issues, even in the absence of clear solutions.




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Prioritise programmes according to the costs and benefits of signing

Rationale
Given the cost of producing visual signing, it is usually not possible to add it to all
programmes. The decision on which programmes to prioritise should take into account both
the costs of visual signing production and the benefits for viewers. The cost may vary for
different programmes, depending on the programme type, length and possibly other factors.
For broadcasters, there is likely to be a significant cost difference between buying in pre-
signed programmes and producing or commissioning new signing. The benefits will certainly
vary because the addition of visual signing benefits some programme types more than
others.

Directions and techniques

Prioritise the most popular or important programmes
If time, resource or technical constraints make it impossible to sign all programmes,
concentrate initial efforts on the most popular programmes. Deaf people are no different in
most respects to hearing people, so they are likely to enjoy the most popular types of
programmes – news, documentaries, dramas and special events. Concentrate initial efforts
on these programmes and move on to less popular programmes later.
An exception to this is programmes made specifically for deaf people, concerning deafness
itself or aspects of Deaf culture that are shared by those people who consider themselves
part of the Deaf community. These are likely to be very popular.
The importance of programme content should also be taken into account. News reports
warning of natural disasters and other vital public information notices should always include
visual signing. This is often done by having a sign language interpreter travel with the news
team.

Prioritise programme types that benefit most
If time, resource or technical constraints make it impossible to describe all programmes,
prioritise programmes that contain a lot of talking, such as chat shows, news and current
affairs, as these may benefit most from visual signing. There is little research on the ease of
following visual signing while simultaneously watching on-screen action, so it is difficult to
say how successful the signing of programmes with a lot of action and dialogue, such as
fast-paced dramas, would be.

Ensure that the signing is understandable

Rationale
There is not one fixed universal sign language but many national and even regional or
cultural variations. Deaf viewers will need language that they can understand, presented by
someone who is fluent in that language. If sign language is the primary language of the
programme, then other viewers may need a translation into written or spoken language.

Directions and techniques

Use the language of the audience (high priority)
Signing should be done using the appropriate national sign language for the audience. It
may also be appropriate to use a specific regional or cultural dialect if the programme is
aimed a very specific audience.




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Use fluent signers who are trained in television signing (high priority)
Sign language presenters, narrators, reporters and interpreters should be fluent to the level
of native competency. They should also be trained in communicating effectively on
television. There may be qualifications available.

Translate sign language into captions and speech if necessary
If the programmes is delivered in sign language by the presenters, contributors and
characters, it should also be translated into both speech and captions for the benefit of
viewers who do not understand sign language or cannot see the signer.

Ensure that the signer is easy to see and read

Rationale
Signing involves many movements, particularly of the hands and facial expressions, which
must be clearly seen in order to understand the meaning. This is a particular issue with
translations delivered in an ‘open’ format, where the signer takes up only a small part of the
television screen, making their hands and facial features appear relatively small.

Directions and techniques

Show all relevant movements (high priority)
The full upper trunk of the signer should be visible at all times, including arms, hands,
shoulders, neck and face and allowing for the full extent of their movements.

Ensure that the signer is shown large enough to be seen and understood (high
priority)
The signer should to appear on the screen at a sufficient size and resolution to enable
viewers at normal viewing distances to clearly see and accurately recognise all movements
and facial expressions.
This requirement is difficult to quantify in terms of an adequate proportion of the picture,
because it depends on the size of the viewer’s screen, their viewing distance and their visual
acuity. The practical recommendation provided by Ofcom in the UK is that the signer should
be no smaller than one sixth of the picture.
For closed visual signing delivered in a receiver mix format, individual viewers may be able
to resize and position the signer according to personal preferences, if their receiver
equipment provides that functionality. This situation is rare, however.
For open visual signing of programmes primarily aimed at deaf people, the main visual
image can be reduced in size leaving a blank area in which the signer can be placed.

Use colours of clothing and background that are easy to distinguish (high priority)
The colours and tones of the signer’s clothing and background should be such that all
movements can easily be seen. Lighting has a large part to play in this.

Position the signer to avoid obscuring important content
Avoid obscuring any important activity. The usual position for a signer, at the lower right
hand side of the screen, may not be appropriate for programmes where important activity
most often occurs in that area. To avoid obscuring subtitles or scrolling news tickers, it may
be necessary to move the signer up a little from the bottom edge.




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Ensure that signing matches the timing of on-screen activity

Rationale
The signing should, as far as possible, match the onset and duration of the associated on-
screen activity. Mismatches may cause difficulties in following the programme. This is
particularly important for dramas and other programmes with continuous changes of shot.

Directions and techniques

Synchronise the signing with programme sound
Apart from visual signing of live programmes, where it is difficult, signing should start at the
same time as speech. The duration should be as close as possible to the duration of the
speech.

Avoid overrunning shot changes
Avoid the sign language interpretation overrunning shot changes. Shot changes that take
place while interpretation is being done may cause the viewer to be distracted from the
signing.

Interpret all relevant audio content

Rationale
The aim of visual signing is to give the information that a hearing person receives by
listening. Not only is information provided through dialogue and narration, but many other
sounds, or even a lack of sound, may also be vital to the understanding of content, context
or plot. All of these must therefore be conveyed through sign language.

Directions and techniques

Interpret all speech (high priority)
All speech should be interpreted if time permits.

Sign relevant sound effects (high priority)
Indicate the presence of sounds such as a ringing telephone, a doorbell or a gun shot. Draw
attention to significant sound effects.

Ensure that interpretations provide equivalent information

Rationale
The aim of visual signing is to replace the information that a hearing person receives by
listening. The interpretation must therefore be equivalent to the programme audio, providing
the same information and meaning, but in a different form. Equivalent information includes
the information given in tones of voice, non-speech utterances and other sounds, plus
information about the sounds, such as where they come from.




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Directions and techniques

Identify individual sources (high priority)
Ensure that it is clear whose speech is being interpreted. This can be achieved using the
interpreter’s eye gaze or body positioning, giving the speaker’s name or reflecting the
speaker’s manner, which is known as ‘characterisation’.

Do not censor speech (high priority)
Do not censor speech in order to remove ideas that may appear crude or offensive. This is
unnecessary and condescending. If the audible content is deemed suitable for its intended
audience, it is also suitable for a deaf member of that audience. The interpreter’s comfort
level when interpreting sexual or disturbing language should not be a factor.

Use language and a style of delivery that is consistent with the
programme content

Rationale
The role of visual signing is simply to convey information. It should not add to or detract from
the feel or atmosphere of the programme. An interpreter or interpretation that is radically
different in style from the programme content can destroy the feel.

Directions and techniques

Use an interpreter and language consistent with the nature of the programme
The age and appearance of the interpreter and the language they use should match the
programme content. For programmes aimed at a wide audience and with culturally neutral
content, such as a wildlife documentary for example, age and appearance may not matter.
But for culturally specific shows such as those aimed at a younger audience or an older
audience, the interpreter and their language should fit culturally.
The interpreter can be considered in the same way as a speaking presenter. For example, a
fashion programme requires a presenter/signer who is fashionable, whereas a news
programme might require someone who looks more serious. Having the interpreter follow
the same rules as the presenter makes the interpreter feel more like an integral part of the
programme, fostering a feeling of inclusion among deaf audience members.
The interpreter’s visual appearance should not be distracting, however.

Test the quality of audio description and invite audience feedback
The best way to assess the quality of visual signing is to run user tests with deaf viewers.
Tests should aim to assess all important characteristics, including the understandability,
accuracy, objectivity, completeness, helpfulness, timing, visual appearance and suitability for
the programme content and audience.
Broadcasters can also provide a way for viewers to give feedback on quality issues by
providing a telephone number that will accept voice calls and texts along with other quick
access channels such as email and Twitter.




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                                   Flashing Content

Flashing content within a television programme, even if shown for just a few seconds, can
trigger seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy.

Eliminate the risk of causing seizures

Directions and techniques

Avoid flashing content (high priority)
Keep within general flash and red flash thresholds.

Notify the audience of flashing content (high priority)
If a programme contains flashing content beyond the recommended thresholds, viewers
should be warned with a visible on-screen message snd sn sudible announcement at the
start of the programme.




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                   Customer Service




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           Introduction to Universal Customer Service
Meeting the needs of all existing and potential customers should be the primary goal of
every customer service department. This requires an appreciation of the diversity of needs
among the user population, regardless of people’s age, size, ability and disability. In recent
decades, the voice of the general public has become more prominent and more influential.
People are more confident to speak up when they have a complaint and information and
communication technologies have made this increasingly easy. Direct pressure from
consumer groups as well as direct engagement with their customers have encouraged many
companies to evolve their design process and improve their customer services to
accommodate a wider range of people.
Effective universal customer service emerges from clear policies and procedures. This
should be backed up by training in the communication needs of all customers and ongoing
evaluation of customers’ experiences with products and services. All these aspects are
covered within these guidelines.
The value of good customer service, both to the customer and the supplier, should not be
underestimated. In a survey of Irish digital television users carried out during the
development of these guidelines, of the respondents who had a good experience when
buying or ordering their current TV service, an overwhelming number of them stated that it
was because of a good customer service experience. Similarly, most of those who had a
bad experience stated that it was due to poor customer service. For these consumers in
particular, customer service is a great differentiator and an important reason for choosing
one supplier over another. Many of the guidelines here are illustrated by quotes from
participants in the survey.




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            Guidelines for Universal Customer Service
Develop universal customer service policies and procedures

Rationale
By developing a universal customer service policy, an organisation can ensure that universal
design receives the attention and respect it requires amongst all levels of staff. Such a policy
will outline the vision and goals that the organisation strives to achieve in addressing the
needs of customers with disabilities.
Procedures can be defined on the basis of this policy. An organisation that has consistent
procedures in place on how to address the needs of customers with disabilities will provide
higher quality customer service.
       “I decided to go with my current digital TV provider due to the number of
       channels available and they appear to take accessibility more seriously than
       other providers. As they have an accessibility department that can answer
       questions, plus they add a lot of audio description to much of their
       programming. Plus with my old provider, I found their service unreliable.”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.
Identifying the legal requirements applicable to your organisation in relation to accessibility
and usability of products and services for people with disabilities is important and can act as
an effective driver for change internally.
It is impossible to identify the needs and wishes of your customers without talking directly to
your customers and the organisations that represent them. Establishing a formal dialogue
with customers and with representative organisations is crucial.
In order for an organisation to successfully address universal design, it needs also to ensure
that any services or systems it procures are accessible and usable. If elements of the
customer service that are outsourced to other companies (such as management of customer
orders, or management of a website) do not successfully address the needs of your
customers, this will counteract the efforts made by your own organisation.
       “The guy who came to my house to install the TV tried to be helpful but
       unfortunately the device was inaccessible.”
       “The service guys were great and tried to help me as best they could with
       totally inaccessible equipment.”
       “I received accessibility information from the accessibility department of my
       digital TV provider. It was quite useful when I had an issue with service.
       However, no information on how to make the box more accessible apart from
       how to turn on audio description was offered.”
       – Guidelines survey respondents.

Directions and techniques

Produce a universal customer service policy (high priority)
A universal customer service policy should demonstrate the organisation’s commitment to
take the issue of universal design seriously at the earliest stages. Guidance on how to
produce a universal customer service policy in the context of the energy provision industry in
Ireland is currently under development and when published will provide a framework for
developing a customer service policy that meets the needs of the widest range of users
possible.



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Identify legal requirements (high priority)
Staff should have a full appreciation of the legal requirements of meeting (and failing to
meet) the needs of customers, in particular those with specific requirements such as
persons with disabilities..

Consult with customers
When developing customer service strategies or product information, consult with consumer
groups and customers representing a wide range of users needs. Specific guidance on
consulting with persons with disabilities and their representative organisations consultation
can be found in the National Disability Authority guidelines ‘Ask Me: Guidelines for Effective
Consultation with People with Disabilities’.

Develop a customer service handbook
A customer service handbook is an internal document for the use of management,
maintenance personnel and new staff to ensure consistency in the quality of the service the
organisation provides to all customers. This can be presented as a sub-section of a larger
employee handbook or a policy and procedures manual.
It should include the following:
   The overall universal customer service policy.
   Universal customer service policies and procedures for each area of operation. For
    example, premises that are open to the public, telephone support lines, electronic
    communications (websites, email, etc.), products with particular universal design
    features, procedures for addressing customers with specific needs.
   Contact details of members of staff who will act as the point of contact for queries that
    require specialist knowledge such as those relating to access services so that such
    queries are dealt with properly and consistently.

Specify universal design in procurements
To ensure that externally supplied products or services also meet universal design criteria,
these should be specified as a requirement during the tendering or commissioning process.
Those responsible for procurements in an organisation can refer to the NDA IT Procurement
Toolkit, which outlines the various stages of procurement and where universal design should
be addressed.

Train staff in universal customer service

Rationale
Developing staff competencies in universal customer service is vital to ensure that they have
the knowledge, attitudes and skills to fully address all customers’ needs and give a
consistently high quality of customer service. This training gives staff the opportunity to
explore how their attitudes and organisational processes could be a barrier to certain
customers and to good customer service in general. It can also allow staff to explore their
roles and the roles of all stakeholders in creating a more accessible and usable environment
for all.
It is not just the attitude, friendliness and communications skills of the general customer
service representative that are important. Customers will need answers to specific questions
about the universal design features of products. Customer support staff will need to be kept
up to date with this knowledge.




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Some customers may have very specific requirements and questions, so the option to talk to
a customer service representative who is willing and able to address their specific requests
can make a considerable difference. The following quotes made by customers in the survey
of Irish television users carried out for these guidelines (in this case both persons with a
vision impairment) illustrates two different approaches, one far more successful than the
other.
       “Customer service are not equipped to deal with issues that fall outside of
       mainstream. They pass it on to managers who do not respond.”
       “I found customer support quite helpful. I talked to the accessibility department
       who went through the process step by step to ensure that the issue was
       sorted.”
       – Guidelines survey respondents.

Directions and techniques

Ensure that all customer-facing staff have awareness of the diverse range of
customer needs and requirments (high priority)
The training all customer-facing staff and their managers receive should incorporate a
significant portion of awareness raising and skills training regarding the diverse range of
customers’ needs and requirements. In some cases it may be necessary to provide training
to existing staff about the needs of specific customer segments such as older people and
people with disabilities.
All procured services (e.g. outsourcing of administrative or HR responsibilities) and
contracted staff should be aware of universal design policies and procedures and their staff
should receive relevant training.
The National Disability Authority has developed Guidelines for Purchasers of Disability
Equality Training to assist organisations with the development of their disability equality
training programme. The Guidelines set out for purchasers what to look for in a trainer, how
the trainer might work with the organisation and the broad content of disability equality
training programmes.

Assign responsibilities to staff members and advertise these within the organisation
(high priority)
Roles and responsibilities relating to specific and specialist customer service toles, such as
providing advice on access services) should be identified and assigned to relevant members
of staff.
In larger organisations, more than one member of staff may be required. It can be helpful to
develop an internal working/cross functional team of staff responsible for universal design
matters.
All staff who deal with customers should be made aware of these roles and should know
who they should refer to when receiving specialised requests from customers.
Outsourced services and contracted staff should also be made aware of universal design
policies, procedures and responsible staff members.

Ensure that customer-facing staff are aware of universal design features of products
Customer support staff should be kept up to date with knowledge about the full range of
design features that enable all customers to use the service and limitations of products and
any special adaptations or services that are available for people with particular
requirements.




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How you could test for this
The effectiveness of staff training in universal customer service can be assessed by running
a mystery shopping exercise. This involves representative customers with a wide range of
abilities, disabilities, size and age interacting with customer facing staff and reporting their
experiences.
It would seek to judge all relevant aspects of the service quality, such as:
   The ability of staff to communicate effectively with customers with limited experience or
    ability in using technology, from different age demographics or who have impairments
    that affect communication;
   Staff knowledge of the universal design features of products and services;
   The accessibility and usability of information provided to customers;
   The ability of staff to deal efficiently and courteously with all customers regardless of
    their age, ability, disability or size.

Ensure that public premises are accessible to and usable by all
customers

Rationale
If a customer or potential customer is unable to access and use a retail premises, they are
likely to be disinclined or unable to purchase the products and services it provides. A
building that is inviting and designed to be comfortable in its use by the widest range of
people possible is critical to enabling as many customers as possible to buy new products
and service or retain existing customer loyalty.


Directions and techniques

Follow universal design guidance for buildings (high priority)
[The National Disability Authority publication ‘Building for everyone: Inclusion, access and
use’ contains detailed guidance on all aspects of universal design of the built and external
environment. The key issues for consideration are covered by this set of guidance
documents, including the following:
   Management: Access handbook, access and safety, responsibilities and commitment
   Transport: Getting to the building, location, set down areas
   External Environment: car parking, routes, ramps, steps and doors
   Vertical and Horizontal Circulation: steps and stairs, lifts, corridors and internal doors
   Facilities: reception,   toilets,   seating   areas,   changing   rooms,    restaurants      and
    refreshments
   Interior Design: lighting, colour and contrast, fixtures
   Evacuation: emergency equipment, alarms, signage, evacuation equipment, evacuation
    plans
   Communication Facilities: signage, telephones, tactile features, acoustics
More detailed information on buildings accessibility is available on the built environment
section of this website.
This content to update in light of the new BfE]



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Building regulations concerning access should be complied with. These cover physical
layout, signage, maintenance and cleaning practices, presence of customer service
representatives, and so on.
In Ireland, ‘Part M of the Building Regulations’ is the collective term used to refer to the
regulations that address access to and use of the built environment. Existing buildings must
comply with the Building Regulations 1997 – 2010. Design specifications can be found in
‘Technical Guidance Document M: Access for People with Disabilities 2000’. Buildings built
on or after 1st January 2012 must comply with ‘Building Regulations (Part M Amendment)
Regulations 2010’. The new design specifications for these regulations can be found in
‘Building Regulations 2010: Technical Guidance Document M: Access and Use’.

Use appropriate means to communicate with customers

Rationale
For communication to be successful, it has to be provided through an appropriate channel,
in an appropriate format and with appropriate content. This applies to all types of
communication between the organisation and the customer, including advertising or
promotional material, information on a website, any form of communication that is used for
ordering, setting up an account, billing, customer support and complaints procedures.
Meeting the needs of all customers involves giving choice. Information provided through a
range of channels (e.g. post, telephone, text message, email and online) and in a range of
formats (e.g. electronic, print, large print, easy to read, Braille) is more likely to cater for the
needs and preferences of all customers.
       “My bill is accessible! It’s either available in Braille or online.”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.
A person with a hearing impairment may not be able to hear spoken or audible information.
       “I indicated that I was deaf, and to text me. They called my phone several
       times trying to confirm the order!”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.
Written or printed information may not be accessible to a customer with a vision impairment.
       “They refuse to provide information in Braille but are happy to send the bills in
       print.”
       – Guidelines survey respondent.
Information which is overly technical or not stated in clear language may not be
understandable by a customer with limited experience of using technology, low literacy or an
intellectual disability.
       “There’s so much information and detail on the TV bill it's hard to work out how
       much it actually costs.”
       “If it was more plain English. Just ordinary words. You don’t have to have all
       the big words.”
       “When you have to ring up they ask you a number and it gets confusing. You
       have to remember a big long number. You’re waiting a long time. If you hang
       up you’re back to square one again.”
       – Guidelines survey respondents.
Organisations can ensure that information in digital format, for example on a website or in an
email, can be used and understood by all customers by following the recognised
accessibility and usability guidelines. Given a well designed, accessible website, individual



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customers can easily transform it to meet their needs by resizing the text, changing the
colours, having it read out as speech or converting it to Braille. This is much more difficult
with printed information. However many organisations with large customer bases now offer
to provide general and customers specific information such as bills in a range of formats.

Directions and techniques

Make information easy to understand (high priority)
Wherever possible, written information should be communicated using clear, concise, non-
technical language, according to Plain English guidelines. This approach uses short
sentences and avoids jargon and complicated words or phrases.
Customer service representatives should be able to describe technical terms in a non-
technical way.

Provide a choice of communications channels and information formats (high priority)
Information should be provided through a range of channels (e.g. post, telephone, text
message, email and online) in order to cater for the needs and preferences of all customers.
This also applies to communications from the customer to the organisation, through forms or
ordering facilities. For example, if a customer is unable to complete a printed form, they can
be given the option to provide their details over the telephone.
If providing a range of alternative formats of all communication material is not feasible or will
take time to organise, start by identifying the key communications (e.g. order forms, bills)
and provide those in as many formats as is deemed necessary.

Make digital and online information usable and accessible (high priority)
Web-based information and interactive services should be made accessible and usable to all
customers. By carefully following the guidelines the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
(WCAG) from the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI),it is possible to make the contents of a
website maximally accessible to almost all users, without compromising its design and
functionality. The result will be a flexible format that individual customers can transform to
meet their needs by resizing it, changing the colours, accessing it on different devices,
having it read out as speech or converting it to Braille.
No equivalent set of international guidelines exist for usability. However there are many
resources on usability on the web including Jacob Nielson usability heuristics.


Information and communications provided through other digital channels, such as telephone
and information kiosks, should be made universally accessible by following the Irish National
IT Accessibility Guidelines which includes specific guidance on telecoms and public access
terminals.
Electronic forms of communication, such as the organisation’s website (including all online
ordering facilities) should be tested for accessibility and usability. This testing can take the
form of an audit or user testing with a wide range of users. An audit can be conducted on all
key sections of the website to ensure that they adhere to the relevant web accessibility
guidelines and usability heuristics. The CEUD provides guidelines on web accessibility
auditing.

Adopt a widely accessible standard format for printed information
Provide printed information in a range of formats, such as standard print, large print, easy to
read and Braille according to the needs and requests of your customers. Information on




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accessible formats can be found in The NDA publication First Steps in Producing Accessible
Publications.
The need to supply alternative formats can be minimized by choosing a standard format that
is accessible without modification to the largest number of people, within the constraints of
branding, marketing considerations and production costs.
Aim for clarity at all time when choosing a typeface or designing a layout. If in doubt, keep it
simple.
An appropriate standard format may, for example:
   use a font size that is easily read by the widest range of users possible. Depending on
    the typeface used, 12 point could be considered as the minimum type size for standard
    format. 14 point is commonly used, so more people can access the standard format.
    Print above 16 point is considered to be large print. Be printed on matte finish paper, not
    glossy;
   Use a good contrast with a plain background for text;
   Be written in easy to read language, using a mixture of text and graphics.


For more detailed guidance, see the Plain English and Make it Clear guidelines.

Record information about customers’ preferred formats for communications
Providing a way for customers to state their preferred methods and formats for
communication can alleviate the need for repeated requests for alternative formats and help
to inform future universal design planning. This can be done during a sign up period or
through a mechanism where customers can set their own preferences or provide feedback
on how well communications meet their needs.

How you could test for this
Digital and online information can be tested for accessibility and usability by either auditing
or user testing. An accessibility audit can be conducted on all key sections of a website to
ensure that they adhere to the relevant web accessibility guidelines. The Centre for
Excellence in Universal Design provides guidelines on web accessibility auditing which
describe how to commission and what outputs to expect.

Where possible, provide personal assistance

Rationale
Most people wish to maintain their independence. If a service requires that a family member
or friend be present in order to successfully install or alter equipment, this challenges a
person’s independence and dignity. The option for a customer to have a representative call
to their house can be invaluable.
When dealing with customer service queries by phone, the customer is often required to
carry out a task (e.g. plug out a cable, switch on and off a piece of equipment) according to
spoken instructions. Notwithstanding the difficulty of giving instructions to a person lacking
the familiar range of abilities, following those instructions can cause considerable difficulties
for some people.
       “I find I need someone else on hand to unplug etc. while following
       instructions.”
       “Impossible for a blind person to do so without sighted assistance.”
       – Guidelines survey respondents.



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A call out from a service engineer can be invaluable.
       “The service guys were great and tried to help me as best they could with
       totally inaccessible equipment.”
       “The engineer did everything. He also went through the remote control with me
       and explained how it worked.”
       – Guidelines survey respondents.

Directions and techniques

Offer a callout in cases where the customer is unable to follow instructions given by
phone or other means
If callouts are provided as an alternative to other inaccessible channels of communication,
flexibility should be provided in the timing of call-outs and it should be possible for people to
get assistance outside of office hours for customers who are working.

Ensure that customers are aware of the universal design features of
products and services

Rationale
Universal design features are selling points that need to be promoted so that those
customers or potential customers who would benefit from them are aware of them and how
they may benefit from them. This is illustrated by early experiences with audio description in
the UK reported by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). During the first seven
years of audio description availability on Freeview, sales of the single compatible set-top box
were disappointing. According to RNIB, this was not due to a lack of demand or need for
audio description, but to low awareness of the service and of this product. Poor sales are not
necessarily an indication of lack of demand but may actually be due to fact that customers
simply didn’t know that the product exists.
       “My digital TV provider has a Disability service. It was useful in telling me what
       future programs were about to be available in audio description, it should be
       more widely advertised.”
       “I didn’t really know there was help available.”
       – Guidelines survey respondents.

Directions and techniques

Highlight universal design features within product information
Universal design features should be highlighted wherever a product or service is described.
For example, in promotional mail shots, information included with bills or on shop displays
and marketing literature.
Retailers and customer service staff should be fully aware of universal design features.
Informing representative organizations for older people and people with disabilities can also
help because these organizations communicate directly with the target group and are often
also a point of contact for people looking for information about what is available.
A dedicated section on the company website can list product features that meet the needs of
specific user groups as well as available alternatives for service provision, such as large
print or Braille billing for example.




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Label products
Clear labelling of products should be used to help both consumers and suppliers. A labelling
scheme that allows manufacturers to easily display information about the universal design
features of a product will not only help potential customers to choose suitable products, but
also help to develop the market for these products by increasing awareness.

How you could test for this
Customers can be regularly surveyed to find out whether they are aware of the universal
design features of products that would benefit them. Suitable questions can be included
within existing marketing surveys.




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               Supporting Materials




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        Television Viewers’ Experiences: Case Studies
The following case studies were developed using information received
from users during the survey of Irish television users. While the quotes
are actual, the peoples’ descriptions have been changed to protect their
anonymity.

Case Study 1: A lot of things can be too complicated
Una is a 69 year old woman who lives alone. She receives Digital TV into her home from
one of the two major Irish pay-TV service providers and has experienced a few difficulties.
She uses the Electronic Programme Guide but feels that it could be easier:
        “A bit crowded. It could be laid out better.”
She particularly likes the ability to record programmes, but found it difficult at first:
        “I find it great but a bit hard to get used to at the beginning.”
Una was pleased that the installation of the service was very efficient and easy, but she has
difficulty with her billing:
       “So much information and detail, it’s hard to work out how much it actually
       costs.”
When she called customer services with a query, she didn’t like the automated response:
       “The usual menu to direct and redirect your call. I am not a great fan of this. I
       would prefer to get through to a person instead of a machine!”

Case Study 2: Audio description reveals the plot
Tina is a 45 year old Irish woman who has been blind since her late 20’s. Her television
provider doesn’t offer audio description, but she has heard it and thinks it’s fantastic, so she
is considering switching to another provider. Despite the lack of audio description, Tina is a
keen TV watcher and a big fan of the British soap opera Coronation Street, which she is able
to understand mostly from the dialogue. Until it comes to the crucial cliff-hanger ending ...
       “I watch Coronation Street three or four times a week. I’m an avid follower of
       the soap's machinations and drama but as a blind person I find the cliff hanger
       endings completely frustrating. Each week at the end there is a dramatic
       scene without any dialogue, then the theme tune comes on and I’m left without
       knowing what happened! I have to phone a friend or my sister who can explain
       to me what the ending was. Audio description would be so welcome.”

Case Study 3: Deaf customer faces multiple issues
Emer is a 38 year old woman who is deaf. When she ordered her TV service online she
mentioned that she is deaf and asked that they contact her by email and/or text message.
Despite this, they rang her several times:
       “I indicated that I was deaf and to text me. They called my phone several times
       trying to confirm the order. It was handy ordering online but when customer
       service refuses to respond via emails etc. it’s mind boggling. “I had a different
       service provider before, they had excellent customer service but my new
       provider is a shambles.”
She arranged a time for an installer to call and took time off work to be at home, but the
installer didn’t turn up when they said they would.



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      “They didn't come when I expected; wasted two days off work.”
Emer relies on subtitles but can’t find reliable information about which programmes are
subtitled:
      “The new one is not as clear as the old provider, I don't know which
      programmes are subtitled.”
Having paid extra money to subscribe to HD channels, she is annoyed to find that subtitles
are not available on them:
      “I wish my service provider would stop making excuses about being unable to
      provide subtitles on HD - if other providers can, so can you!”
And when subtitles are available, Emer sometimes finds that there are problems viewing
them on recorded programmes:
      “I recorded some programmes on the box but the subtitles often did not record
      well.”




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                            Legislation & regulation
This section is written largely from an Irish perspective. However, the delivery of television
services in Ireland occurs not only in a national legislative and regulatory context, but within
European and international contexts. A lot of this information will therefore be relevant to
countries outside of Ireland, particularly other European countries.
An international basis for promoting Universal Design in television services is provided by
the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention puts the
universal design of information and communication technologies, including electronic
services, on the same level as that of transport and the built environment. Article 30 requires
signatory states to ensure that people with disabilities can access television programmes in
accessible formats. The Convention also requires states to consider accessibility mandates
for media, culture and leisure; to promote access for persons with disabilities to new
information and communications technologies and systems; and to promote Universal
Design in the development of standards and guidelines. Ireland has signed but not yet
ratified the Convention. The European Union has ratified it.
On a European level, in the Universal Service and Users’ Rights Directive, Article 31(1)
allows Member States to impose a requirement on broadcasters to include access services
(subtitles, audio description and Irish Sign Language). It also states that these requirements
must be regularly reviewed. The accessibility of digital television receivers is covered under
the requirements on terminal equipment in Article 23a(2) (Recital 8 of the Telecoms
Framework Directive makes this clear). This requires Member States to encourage the
availability of terminal equipment offering the necessary services and functions for disabled
end-users.
The Audiovisual Media Services Directive, adopted by the European Parliament and the
Council in December 2007 and replacing the Television Without Frontiers Directive, is the
European framework for broadcasting content. In addition to traditional broadcasting, it also
covers internet television, mobile television and on-demand services. The directive is weak
and vague with respect to Universal Design. It only goes as far as to require Member States
to “encourage media services providers under their jurisdiction to ensure that their services
are gradually made accessible to people with a visual or hearing disability”.
The main piece of Irish broadcasting legislation, the Broadcasting Act 2009, gives a general
direction to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) to provide a regulatory environment
that will facilitate the development of a broadcasting sector that is accessible to people with
disabilities. It mandates the BAI to administer and report on the Access Rules, requiring
broadcasters to meet specific quotas for subtitling, audio description and Irish Sign
Language, expressed as percentages of total broadcast time. Apart from the Access rules,
there is little of direct relevance to Universal Design in the Act, aside from the ‘must-offer’
and ‘must-carry’ obligations in Section 77 which can be seen as requiring broadcasters to
deliver access services to network operators (e.g. Sky satellite and UPC cable) and
requiring those operators to then pass on those access services to viewers.
The Disability Act 2005 requires public bodies (e.g. RTÉ) to ensure that their services are
accessible for people with disabilities by providing integrated access to mainstream services
where practicable and appropriate.
Another general piece of legislation covering television services is the Equal Status Act
2000-2004 which prohibits disability discrimination in the provision of goods and services to
the public, whether free or charged for.
Internationally, the exemplary piece of legislation in this area is the 21st Century Video and
Communications Act in the United States which was signed into law on 8 th October 2010.
This is the most progressive piece of legislation yet enacted anywhere concerning television



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access. It instructs the Federal Communications Committee to define regulations to make
Advanced Communications Services (including broadcast and online services) accessible to
and usable by people with disabilities. This will include setting deadlines for the delivery of
closed captioning and audio description by audiovisual media providers.




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                                      Standards
A listing of relevant international standards regarding television services and consumer
equipment.

Worldwide
Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB)
EBU, 17a Ancienne Route, CH-1218 Grand Saconnex, Geneva, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 717 27 14; Fax +41 22 717 2727
Email: dvb@dvb.org; Web: www.dvb.org
   EN 300 743 V1.3.1 (2006) Subtitling systems (Published by the European
    Telecommunications Standards Institute).
   DVB BlueBook A156 (2011) Addition to EN 300 743 v1.3.1 for Subtitles with Plano-
    Stereoscopic Content (3D).

InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS)
INCITS Secretariat c/o Information Technology Industry Council, 1250 Eye Street NW, Suite
200, Washington, DC 20005, USA.
Tel: +1 202 737 8888; Fax +1 202 638 4922
Email: incits@itic.org; Web: www.incits.org
   ANSI/INCITS 389 Protocol to facilitate operation of information and electronic products
    through remote and alternative interfaces and intelligent agents: Universal remote
    console.

International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
3 rue de Varembé, CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland.
Tel: +41 22 7340 150; Fax: +41 22 7333 843
Web www.iec.ch
   TR 62678: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment activities and
    considerations related to accessibility and usability. Edition 1.0.

International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO)
1 rue de Varembé, Case postale 56, CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland.
Tel: +41 22 749 0111; Fax: +41 22 733 3430
Web www.iso.ch
   ISO/IEC 24752-1 (2008) Information technology - User interfaces - Universal remote
    console - Part 1: Framework.
   ISO/IEC 24752-2 (2008) Information technology - User interfaces - Universal remote
    console - Part 2: User interface socket description.
   ISO/IEC 24752-3 (2008) Information technology - User interfaces - Universal remote
    console - Part 3: Presentation template.
   ISO/IEC 24752-4 (2008) Information technology - User interfaces - Universal remote
    console - Part 4: Target description.



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   ISO/IEC 24752-5 (2008) Information technology - User interfaces - Universal remote
    console - Part 5: Resource description.
   ISO/IEC Guide 71 (2001) Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of
    older persons with disabilities.
   ISO/IEC Guide 71.2 Guidelines to address the needs of older persons and persons with
    disabilities when developing standards.
   ISO/IEC TR 19765 Information Technology - Survey of icons and symbols that provide
    access to functions and facilities to improve the use of IT products by the elderly and
    persons with disabilities.
   ISO/IEC TR 19766 Information Technology - Guidelines for the design of icons and
    symbols to be accessible to all users, including the elderly and persons with disabilities.
   ISO/IEC TR 29136-1 (2009) Information Technology -- Accessibility Considerations for
    people with disabilities
           o   Part 1: User Needs Summary
           o   Part 2: Standards Inventory
           o   Part 3: Guidance on user needs mapping
   ISO IS 9241-171 Ergonomics of human-system interaction - Guidance on software
    accessibility. (A restructured version of ISO TS 16071).
   ISO IS 9241-20 Ergonomics of human-system interaction - Accessibility guideline for
    information communication equipment and services - General guidelines.
   ISO TR 22411 Ergonomic data and guidelines for the application of ISO/IEC Guide 71 in
    standards related to products and services to address the needs of older persons and
    persons with disabilities.
   ISO TS 16071 Guidance on accessibility.

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
ERCIM, 2004, route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia-Antipolis, Cedex, France.
Tel: +33 4 92 38 75 90; Fax: +33 4 92 38 78 22
Web: www.w3.org
   WCAG Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
   UAAG User Agent Accessibility Guidelines.

Europe-wide

Comité Européen de Normalisation (CEN)
36 rue de Stassart, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.
Tel: + 32 2 550 08 11; Fax: + 32 2 550 08 19
Email: infodesk@cenorm.be Web www.cenorm.be
   TS 15945 (2011) Packaging – Ease of opening – Criteria and test methods for
    evaluating consumer packaging.
   Guide 6 (2002) Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older
    persons and persons with disabilities. Equivalent to ISO/IEC Guide 71.




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European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)
650 Route des Lucioles, F-06921 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France.
Tel: +33 4 92 94 42 00; Fax: +33 4 93 65 47 16
Web www.etsi.org
   DEG HF 00031 Human factors guidelines for IT products and services: Design for all.
   EG 201 379: Framework for the development, evaluation and selection of graphical
    symbols
   EG 202 048: Guidelines on the multimodality of icons, symbols and pictograms
   EG 202 116 (2002) Guidelines for IT products and services: Design for all.
   EG 201 472: Usability evaluation for the design of telecommunication systems, services
    and terminals
   EG 202 670: User experience guidelines for real-time communication services
    expressed in Quality of Service terms
   EN 300 468 V1.11.1 (2010), Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB); Specification for Service
    Information (SI) in DVB systems.
   EN 300 472 v1.3.1 (2003), Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB); Specification for conveying
    ITU-R System B Teletext in DVB bitstreams.
   EN 300 707 V1.2.1 (2003) Electronic Programme Guide (EPG): Protocol for a TV Guide
    using electronic data transmission.
   EN 300 708 V1.2.1 (2003) Television systems: Data transmission within Teletext.
   EN 300 743 V1.3.1 (2006), Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB); Subtitling systems.
   EN 300 744 V1.5.1 (2004) Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB): Framing structure, channel
    coding and modulation for digital terrestrial television.
   ES 200 800 V1.3.1 (2001) Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB): DVB interaction channel for
    Cable TV distribution systems (CATV).
   ES 201 381 (1998) Telecommunication keypads and keyboards: Tactile identifiers.
   ES 202 432 V1.1.1 (2006) Access symbols for use with video content and ICT devices.
   ES 300 640 Human Factors (HF); Assignment of alphabetic letters to digits on standard
    telephone keypad arrays.
   ETR 345 (1997) Characteristics of telephone keypads and keyboards; Requirements of
    elderly and disabled people.
   TR 102 520 V1.1.2 Access symbols for use with video content and ICT devices;
    Development and evaluation.
   TR 102 988 Ver. 1.1.1 (2011) Media Content Distribution (MCD); Programme guide
    information distribution, situation and perspective
   TR 102 989 Ver. 1.1.1 (2011) Media Content Distribution (MCD); Subtitles distribution,
    situation and perspectives

Canada

Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
CSA International, 178 Rexdale Boulevard, Toronto, Ontario M9W 1RE, Canada.
Web www.csa.ca


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   B480-02 (2002) Customer Service for People with Disabilities.

Japan

Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (JISC)
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyou 100-8901, Japan.
Web www.jisc.org
   JIS S 0011: (2000) Guidelines for all people including elderly and people with disabilities
    - Marking of tactile dots on consumer products.
   JIS S 0012: (2000) Guidelines for all people including elderly and people with disabilities
    - Usability of consumer products.
   JIS S 0013: Guidelines for the elderly and people with disabilities - Auditory signals on
    consumer products.
   JIS S 0014: Guidelines for the elderly and people with disabilities - Auditory signals on
    consumer products - Sound pressure levels of signals for the elderly and in noisy
    conditions.
   JIS S 0031: Guidelines for the elderly and people with disabilities - Visual signs and
    displays - Specification of age-related relative luminance and its use in assessment of
    light.
   JIS X 8341-1: Guidelines for older persons and persons with disabilities - information and
    communications equipment, software and services - Part1: Common Guidelines.
   JIS X 8341-2: Guidelines for older persons and persons with disabilities - information and
    communications equipment, software and services - Part2: Information processing
    equipment.
   JIS Z 8071: Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons
    and persons with disabilities.

Korea

Telecommunications Technology Association
267-2 Seohyeon-dong, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-City, Gyonggi-do, Korea.
Tel: + 82 31 724 0114
Web: www.tta.or.kr/English/new/main/index.htm
   TTAS.KO-07.0050 (2007) Standard for DTV Closed Caption System.

Spain

Asociacion Espanola de Normalizacion y Certificacion (AENOR)
Génova 6, 28004 Madrid, Spain.
Tel: +34 914 326 000; Fax: +34 913 103 172
Email: info@aenor.es; Web: www.aenor.es
   UNE 153010 (2003) Subtitling for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. Subtitling by teletext.
   UNE 153020 (2005) Audio description for visually impaired people. Guidelines for audio
    description procedures and for the preparation of audio guides.
   UNE 153030 (2008) Accessibility to digital television.


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UK

British Standards Institute (BSI)
389 Chiswick High Road, London W4 4AL, UK.
Tel: +44 20 8996 9000; Fax: +44 20 8996 7400
Email: info@bsi-global.com Web www.bsi-global.com
   BS EN 60417:1999 Graphical symbols for use on equipment.
   BS EN 61603-7:2003 Transmission systems for audio and/or video and related signals
    using infra-red radiation. Digital audio signals for conference and similar applications.
   BS 700-6 (2005) Management of Inclusive Design.

USA

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
1819 L Street NW, Washington DC 20036, USA.
Tel: +1 212 642 4900; Fax: +1 202 293 9287
Web www.ansi.org
   ANSI/INCITS 389-2005 Protocol to facilitate operation of information and electronic
    products through remote and alternative interfaces and intelligent agents: universal
    remote console.

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)
1919 S. Eads St., Arlington, VA 22202, USA.
Tel: +1 866-858-1555 or 703-907-7600; Fax: +1 703-907-7675
Email: cea@ce.org; Web: www.ce.org
   CEA-708-D Digital Television (DTV) Closed Captioning.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
445 12th Street, SW Washington, DC 20554, USA.
Tel: +1 888 225 5322; Fax: +1 202 418 2830
Web: www.fcc.gov
   47 CFR Part 7 Access to voicemail and interactive menu services and equipment by
    persons with disabilities.
   47 CFR Section 79.1 (2004) Closed captioning of video programming.
   47 CFR Section 79.2 Access to emergency information on television.
   47 CFR 79.3 Video description of video programming.

National Committee for Information Technology Standards
1250 Eye Street NW, Suite 200, Washington DC 20005, USA.
Tel: +1 202 737 8888; Fax: +1 202 638 4922
Email: ncits@itic.org Web www.ncits.org
   Alternative Interface Access Protocol.




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United States Access Board
United States Access Board, 1331 F Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20004-1111,
USA.
Tel: +1 202 272 0080; Fax: +1 202 272 0081
Email: info@access-board.gov; Web: www.access-board.gov
   47 CFR Part 7 Access to voicemail and interactive menu services and equipment by
    persons with disabilities.
   47 CFR Section 79.1 (2004) Closed captioning of video programming.
   47 CFR Section 79.2 Access to emergency information on television.




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                         References & Bibliography
A listing of publications referred to within the text or that provided significant input into the
creation of these guidelines.

General guidelines
1   INTECO (Instituto Nacional de Tecnolog as de la Comunicaci n), Spain, 2009, Digital
    Terrestrial Television (DTT) Accessibility Recommendations.
                                                                                                    Formatted: Bullets and Numbering
12 Consumer Expert Group, 2006, Digital TV Equipment: Vulnerable Consumer
   Requirements.
13 Trisha O’Connell (WGBH NCAM) & Mark Magennis (NCBI CFIT), 2009, G3ict e-
   Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities: Television.
14 Royal National Institute of Blind People, Submission to Think Tank on Convergence at
   the Department of Culture, Media and Sport: How do we achieve accessibility in a
   converged world?
15 Dr. Ruth-Blandina M. Quinn, Broadcasting Commission of Ireland, 2003, Accessing
   Television.

Consumer equipment
6   EICTA (now DigitalEurope), 2007, Digital TV e-Accessibility requirements.
                                                                                                    Formatted: Bullets and Numbering
67 EICTA (now DigitalEurope), 2007, Industry Self-Commitment, to improve the
   accessibility of digital TV receiving equipment sold in the European Union, Brussels,
   November 30, 2007.
68 World Blind Union, 2011, WBU User Requirements for Television Receiving Equipment.
69 Royal National Institute of Blind People, 2009, Text on screen guidelines for television
   audiences with a sight problem.
610   Chris Schmidt and Tom Wlodkowski, WGBH National Centre for Accessible Media
   (NCAM) , 2003, Developer's Guide to Creating Talking Menus for Set-top Boxes and
   DVDs.
611   W. Bradley Fain, Georgia Tech Research Institute, 2004, An analysis of a survey of
   402 participants with disabilities focusing on universal design features found in common
   consumer products.

Remote controls
12 Dr Jonathan Freeman, Dr Jane Lessiter, Andrea Miotto and Eva Ferrari, i2 media
   research Ltd. & Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, on behalf
   of the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, 2008, A comparative
   study of remote control devices for digital TV (DTV) receivers.
                                                                                                    Formatted: Bullets and Numbering
1213 Digital TV Group (DTG), 2008, D-Book v6.0 Chapter 25: Remote Control Design and
   Features.
1214   Cardiac Project, 2009, Guidelines on remote controls.
15 Dr Jonathan Freeman & Dr Jane Lessiter, i2 media research Ltd, on behalf of Ofcom,
   2007, Easy to use digital television receivers: remote control buttons and functions used
   by different types of consumer.




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   UNIVERSAL DESIGN DIGITAL TV GUIDELINES DRAFT NOVEMBER 2011


Spoken output
16 International Electrotechnical Commission, Text To Speech For Television - Part 1:
   General requirements.
                                                                                            Formatted: Bullets and Numbering
1617   DigitalEurope, 2010, Text-to-Speech for TV: Specification version 0.68.
1618 Digital TV Group (DTG), 2009, Implementation Guidelines and Recommendations for
   Text-to-Speech v.1.4.

Documentation
19 National Disability Authority, 2005, First Steps in Producing Accessible publications.
                                                                                            Formatted: Bullets and Numbering
1920   National Adult Literacy Agency, 2008, Plain English guidelines at a glance.
1921   National Adult Literacy Agency, Simply Put.

Access services
22 Peter Olaf Looms, 2010, The case for DTV access services, EBU Technical Review.
                                                                                            Formatted: Bullets and Numbering
2223 Peter Olaf Looms, 2010, The production and delivery of DTV access services, EBU
   Technical Review.
2224   Peter Olaf Looms, 2010, The future of DTV access services, EBU Technical Review.
2225 DTV4All project, 2008, Detailed Work Plan for the full-scale Deployment of Mature
   Access Services.
2226   DTV4All project, 2010, Final Report on Pilot Services part 1.
2227   DTV4All project, 2010, Final Report on Pilot Services part 2.
2228   DTV4All project, 2008, A Shortlist of Emerging Access Services.
2229   DTV4All project, 2010, Interim Report on Expert User Tests.
2230   DTV4All project, 2010, 2nd Phase Emerging Access Service Demonstrators.
2231 DTV4All project, 2010, Final Report on Expert User Tests of Emerging Access
   Services.

Captioning
32 BBC, 2009, Online Subtitling Editorial Guidelines V1.1.
                                                                                            Formatted: Bullets and Numbering
3233 The Described and Captioned Media Program & the National Association for the
   Deaf, 1994, Captioning Key.
3234 Independent Television Commission, 1999, ITC Guidelines on Standards for
   Subtitling.
3235 Canadian Association of Broadcasters English-language Working Group on Closed
   Captioning Standards, 2008, Closed Captioning Standards and Protocol for Canadian
   English Language Television Programming Services.
3236   WGBH Media Access Group, 2002, Captioning FAQ.
3237 Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (formerly Broadcasting Commission of Ireland),
   2007, BCI Guidelines – Subtitling.
3238 Mary Carroll and Jan Ivarsson, European Association for Studies in Screen,
   Translation, 1998, Code of Good Subtitling Practice.
3239   Ipsos UK for Ofcom, 2005, Subtitling - An Issue of Speed?
3240 Rander, Anni and Peter Olaf Looms, DR, 2010, The accessibility of television news
   with live subtitling on digital television. Pages 155-160. Proceedings of the 8th


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   UNIVERSAL DESIGN DIGITAL TV GUIDELINES DRAFT NOVEMBER 2011


   international interactive conference on Interactive TV & Video, Tampere, Finland June 09
   - 11, 2010. ISBN 978-1-60558-831-5.
3241 Carl Jensema, 1998, Viewer reaction to different television captioning speeds,
   American Annals of the Deaf, 143(4):318–324 (1998).
3242 Carl J. Jensema, Sameh El Sharkawy, Ramalinga Sarma Danturthi, Robert Burch,
   and David Hsu, 2000, Eye-movement patterns of captioned-television viewers, American
   Annals of the Deaf, 145(3):275–285 (2000).
3243 D. I. Fels, J. P. Udo, P. Ting, J. E. Diamond and J. I. Diamond, 2006, Odd Job Jack
   described: a universal design approach to described video, Universal Access in the
   Information Society Volume 5, Number 1, Pages 73-81.

Audio description
44 Independent Television Commission, 2000, ITC Guidelines on Standards for Audio
   Description.
                                                                                               Formatted: Bullets and Numbering
4445 The Described and Captioned Media Program & the American Foundation for the
   Blind, 2008, Description Key.
4446 Audio Description Coalition, 2009, Standards for Audio Description and Code of
   Professional Conduct for Describers, 3rd edition.
4447 American Council for the Blind Audio Description Project, 2009-2011, ACB/ADP
   Audio Description Standards.
4448 Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (formerly Broadcasting Commission of Ireland),
   2007, BCI Guidelines – Audio Description.
4449   Royal National Institute of Blind People, 2009, Audio Description for Children.
4450 N.E. Tanton, T. Ware and M. Armstrong, BBC, 2004, Audio Description: what it is
   and how it works.
4451   Clive Miller & Nick Tanton, 2003, Audio description user requirements.
4452 DigitalEurope, 2009, The Provision of Supplementary Audio Streams in Broadcast
   Networks.

Visual signing
53 Independent Television Commission, 2002, ITC Guidelines on Standards for Sign
   Language on Digital Terrestrial Television.
                                                                                               Formatted: Bullets and Numbering
5354 Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (formerly Broadcasting Commission of Ireland),
   2007, BCI Guidelines – Irish Sign Language.

Customer service
55 Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Ireland), 1997, Quality Customer Service
   (QCS) Initiative.
56 National Disability Authority, Guidelines for Purchasers of Disability Equality Training.
                                                                                               Formatted: Bullets and Numbering
5657 David Douthit, Michael Flach and Vivek Agarwal, 2011, Accenture, A “Returning
   Problem” Reducing the Quantity and Cost of Product Returns in Consumer Electronics.
   2011.

Viewer experiences
58 Ofcom, 2009, Digital Lifestyles: Hesitants, Resistors and Economisers.




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                                                                                            Formatted: Bullets and Numbering
5859 Evans, E. J. and Pearson, R, 2009. Boxed Out: Visually Impaired Audiences, Audio
   Description and the Cultural Value of the Television Image. Participations: The Online
   Journal of Audience Studies, 6(2).
5860 Professor Roberta Pearson and Elizabeth Evans, University of Nottingham, Institute
   of Film and Television Studies (Commissioned by the Royal National Institute of Blind
   People), 2008, Boxed Out: Television and people with sight problems.
5861 Leen Petr and Edward Chandler, Royal National Institute of Blind People, 2009,
   Research into Digital Television: Analysis of a 2007 survey on the user habits and
   preferences of blind and partially sighted people, ISBN-10: 1444500333, ISBN-13: 978-
   1444500332.
5862   Ofcom, 2008, People with visual impairments and communications services.

Miscellaneous
63 Department for Culture, Media and Sport (UK), 2005, Report of a Digital Switchover
   Technical Trial at Ferryside and Llansteffan.
                                                                                            Formatted: Bullets and Numbering
6364   National Disability Authority, 2006, IT Procurement Toolkit.
6365 Gaymu, J., Ekamper, P., & Beets, G., 2008, Future trends in health and marital
   status: effects on the structure of living arrangements of older Europeans in 2030.
   European Journal of Ageing, 5, 5-17.
6366   Office for Disability Issues (ODI), 2011, Commissioning accessible video.
w_bradley_fain




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