Dr Scott Hollier, Media Access Australia’s Director of Digital Accessibility, launched an investigation into the accessibility of webinars and published his findings in his July 2016 WC3 column. He also talked candidly about his findings in an informative podcast.
“The accessibility of webinar software has been something I’ve been looking at broadly, and has also resulted in some personal challenges,” said Dr Hollier in his WC3 column. “As a legally blind assistive technology user, I’ve often ended up in situations where I’ve been asked to present or conduct training which requires webinar software, and it’s a request that always makes me a little nervous.”
So when Dr Hollier and Media Access Australia Digital Accessibility Analyst, Matthew Putland, put today’s most popular webinar software choices under the spotlight, was he surprised at the level of accessibility that he encountered?
“We weren’t too surprised that a lot of webinars were very challenging in how to use them,” said Hollier. “Be it presenter or attendee, we’re seeing a lot of accessibility challenges. Some products were certainly better than others, even though broadly speaking they were all quite challenging.”
“The flash-based options were as inaccessible as we thought. Yet my colleague Matt and I were pleasantly surprised that in the case of Hangouts, there was really good control access for screen readers and WebEx was probably the best compromise candidate across the board,” said Hollier. “GoTo probably won out in terms of ease of set-up, and it was also nice to see that Adobe Connect’s chat window at least had some accessibility functionality.”