Why Joe Clark Hates Online Captioning

The ardent support of web accessibility and captioning shares his honest opinion of what’s wrong with online captioning. The focus is on the quality not the lack thereof. It’s a great read in an outline format since it’s from a presentation he gave. Sure, I’d like online captioning to look and read better — but I’ll take what I can get as there’s so little of it online.
One thing that caught my eye from the outline:

Not only is only one show captioned, they have yet again found a new and shocking way to completely screw it up. (Continuous scrolling text in a frame to the right of the image, with upcoming text clearly visible and the current text scrolled upward into a reverse-type field. And! All capitals! 1979 called; it wants its captioning back.)

TV captions have always and continue to be — all uppercase. Why should online captioning be different? In the example Clark refers to — upper case is the least of the problems. The image background makes it very hard to read.
Regardless — I appreciate that he’s speaking loud and clear for online captioning.


  1. This article isn’t in upper case. Neither is any of the other continuous text you read every day of your life. Captions shouldn’t be either. Old-fart deaf people, usually with very poor English, like to insist otherwise, perhaps confusing television for their old TTYs.
    I know the reason why closed captions started out in upper case and have published it repeatedly. It’s no longer valid.

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