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Hello? Is this thing on? - The All-Inclusive Newsletter #1

Hello? Is this thing on? - The All-Inclusive Newsletter #1
By Liam O'Dell • Issue #1 • View online
Hey there, friend
Welcome to The All-Inclusive Newsletter, your fortnightly round-up of all things tech, social media and accessibility.
In the wild times we’re in, we’re spending a lot more time online, and more and more people are realising the importance of making online content inclusive for disabled people.
Every other Friday, I’ll share with you the top tips to help you stand out, and do it right. I’ll also give you the latest news and insights to keep you up to date, and keep you ahead of the game.
Strap in, your one-stop shop for all things access is here.
Liam

✍🏻 About Liam
Liam, a white man, stands in front of a greyish white wall. He is smiling with his mouth open, has blonde hair and wears glasses. He is wearing a white t-shirt and black jacket.
Liam, a white man, stands in front of a greyish white wall. He is smiling with his mouth open, has blonde hair and wears glasses. He is wearing a white t-shirt and black jacket.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Liam O'Dell. I’ve spent years as a deaf freelance journalist covering stories relating to both disability and technology, as well as moments when the two areas collide.
I write regular news pieces for the deaf news website, The Limping Chicken, and have recently started at Indy100, focussing on the hot topics trending on social media. Most of my work can be found on my website, where in July 2020 I broke the news that YouTube would be removing its community captions feature, prompting online petitions, trending topics and international news coverage.
All of this reporting means I now know a thing or two about online access, and I want to share that knowledge with you. After all, accessibility benefits everyone.
🗞️ Read A11y 'bout it!
Twitter Spaces vs Clubhouse: The battle for access
Alt Text Auto: Facebook's object recognition software gets an update
YouTube's poor form
💬 Captions are under threat...
Liam O'Dell
First it was using the captions to make inappropriate, 'secret' jokes, now it's companies using them to advertise, robbing #deaf people of the right to inclusion.

Our access is under threat; don't let this be normalised.

(h/t @momoxmia) #CCMeIn https://t.co/sD2sU7Fs6T
I’m worried about captions, and if I - as a deaf person and avid user of subtitles - am worried about captions, then you should be too. We aren’t the only people who rely on them for access to audiovisual content.
In December, I called out British YouTuber KSI for hiding inside jokes and commentary in the captions of his videos. This shouldn’t need explaining, but accessibility tools are there to provide access, not comic relief. Our access is not your punchline.
Now, it seems captions are being used to advertise. Sure, I’ve since been informed that the captions in the above tweet were from a website which pirates movies, but it still offers an alarming glimpse into the future of captions - where they are trivialised for humour, and commercialised for advertising.
Some of this comes down to education, too. Online creators and companies are still unaware of what high quality captions look like, and what they should (and shouldn’t) contain. Similarly, many don’t bother to caption at all under the false assumption that the process takes too long - something I’ve since called ‘creator apathy’ or simply ‘crapathy’.
We need platforms to greater incentivise creators to make their content accessible.
🤖 Top of the Bots
It’s a good habit to only retweet captioned and image described content, if you can - you never know if one of your followers may need it.
Two handy Twitter bots can help you with that. If you need a video (automatically) captioned in order for you to share it, you can @HeadlinerClip with the word ‘caption’. Meanwhile, you can @ImageAltText to know if a photo comes with image description.
🤦🏻‍♂️ The absolute state of this...
On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock shared a clip from his turn chairing the Downing Street press conference, except things looked a little too crowded.
In both captioning and adding a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter to the video, the two clashed in a terrible accessibility blunder. The subtitles completely covered the hand shapes of the interpreter, rendering him utterly useless in the short video.
This isn’t the first time the Health Secretary has done this, and the solution is simple: accessibility should be the first consideration when sharing online content. The video could be shrunk to allow for the interpreter to sign freely in the corner of the video, with captions underneath.
Or better yet, as campaigners have been calling for since the beginning of this crisis, they can have an interpreter in the room…
Matt Hancock
We’ve now visited every eligible care home with older residents in England & offered vaccinations to all their residents and staff.

We’ve now vaccinated almost 9 in 10 over-80s & over half of people in their 70s.

THANK YOU to everyone who’s helped us get this far. https://t.co/E84lgUxKS4
👋🏻 I’ll be back… on 20 February!
You’re up to date! I’ll return later this month for your next dose of all things access, tech and social media.
Until then, I’m off to read a few more tutorials on the Revue Help Center. If you’ve got something which you’d like to see in these newsletters, or any other feedback, reply to this email or ping me a DM over on Twitter.
You’re also one of the first to receive this newsletter. If you think someone else might enjoy receiving these emails, forward this to them, or get them to visit my Revue profile.
Back soon!
Liam
Did you enjoy this issue?
Liam O'Dell

I'm writing my first book, and I want you to follow my journey, but also motivate me to put words on a page.

Formerly 'The All-Inclusive Newsletter', this newsletter will share updates as I begin to compile my debut, but will also be a way for me to reach out with ways you can be involved, and support the work I'm doing.

Sign up to The Book Accountability Project for updates on my writing progress when I have them.
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Hi, I'm Liam. I'm a Deaf and disabled journalist and campaigner who is now writing my first non-fiction book, and needs people to hold me accountable.

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