For the last two weeks, I have been without my hearing aids. They were well overdue for maintenance and ultimately had to be sent back to the manufacturer for repair. It has been a hard couple of weeks as I have to ask everyone to take extra steps to communicate. Luckily most of the people in my life know what’s up.
I wanted to take this opportunity to point out how terrible the US health industry is for hearing. Hearing and hearing assistive devices are not covered by insurance and cost anywhere between $800 to $2,500 per aid. Plus, hearing aid manufacturers stop supporting any device over five years old.
It is not like it is super easy to have a “backup” set around.
So a special shout out to all the creators out there that make their content accessible with quality captioning.
In this newsletter:
- Real-world feedback on auto-generated captions.
- Planning and strategy is an investment in yourself.
- Firefox recommendations. Yep, you heard me.
So, about captioning
This feels like a good point to talk about captioning and, in particular, auto-captions found in video conferencing apps like Teams or video content services like YouTube or TikTok.
- Just cause it is there doesn’t mean people use it.
Earlier this month, Instagram and TikTok announced auto-captioning. In both cases, it relies on the uploader to choose captions and add them to their post. However, looking at my feeds and the posts others re-share, not many people are doing it. This is the problem with it not being mandatory that no one will remember to do it. Another example of this is alt text for images on Twitter.
- Just cause it exists doesn’t mean it is good.
Excuse my language for a moment… Auto-captions fucking suck. I spend more time trying to decipher what the auto-captions meant than I do pay attention to the content: the miss acronyms, product names, insider info, speaker names, and inflection.
Here’s what I want you to do for the next week. I want you to keep your phone on permanent mute when watching any video for leisure — every app. Having captions on where they are available and turning on Live Captions if you have an Android device.
You will be experiencing the way I consume content; I just live it every day.
This is important for creators and marketers. It is not just a step in your process to add some sort of accessibility; you have to make it useful. If you rely on auto-captions but tout that your content is accessible, you need to reassess your approach. Try it out for a week and find out how much of the internet is available to you.
I find myself frequently telling people that it is okay to spend more time on planning and strategy. For many, taking time for planning feels like inaction. Yet every minute you spend planning for the future is an investment in yourself that pays compounding interest.
If you are a small business, take a look at this guide and see how planning develops a complete strategy that will consistently deliver results. For example, haphazardly creating content in hopes that someone will find it won’t work. This is an excellent guide to getting started. Save it and use on your site or send it to your agency and ask them to show you the one they made for you. You might be surprised.
I have transitioned back to Firefox from Chromium-based browsers in the last few weeks. There are many political reasons for this switch that I won’t get into here. However, I have found some fantastic new (to me) extensions for Firefox, and this is one of them. This extension downloads a page full, with HTML and CSS, plus an option to download scripts. Super useful for a personal archive of web pages you’ve built for your portfolio or scraping pages you have limited access to.
- Twitter Spaces will be available for web, including accessibility features
- Screaming Frog – How to anaylse link position
- Email marketing: The definitive guide