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Thoughts on accessibility

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MrsHathaway Thu 31-Aug-17 22:19:01

Today I enjoyed your fb chat thing with Robert Webb.

But only with great difficulty. I have auditory processing disorder so vlogs, videos, live chat etc are extremely difficult to understand. I can't use voice recognition software at all, for example.

I know that this is the future of social media and I have no doubt you get more clicks on a video than an old-style Web Chat. But could you please consider those of us who will struggle to access non-text content? Examples of how you could help would be to provide transcripts (bearing in mind that text-to-voice software is already used by many MNers) or subtitle videos, after the fact.

For what it's worth, I recently discussed this with DB a MN lurker who hears fine but has reduced vision. He can't access VR or 3D at all, so his cultural world shrinks as technology claims to march on.

Thank you for anything you can consider to ensure you don't leave any of us behind.

MrsHathaway Thu 31-Aug-17 22:51:52

Should add that I can lipread, but couldn't lipread the video because of too low resolution and a slight lag between audio and video.

BlockB Fri 01-Sep-17 13:59:26

Obviously this won't help for the future, a random poster writing it out is not the best accessibility policy! But as a stop gap while mumsnet come up with something I transcribed the interview for you, enjoy! (My spelling and punctuation are crap, I have dyslexia so sorry if it's rubbish!)

gasp we're live, hello, hello mumsnet! err it is I, Robert Webb, thank you for having me.
I'm speaking to you directly from mumsnet HQ, er and I'm talking about my book holds up book "How Not To Be A Boy" and things coming out on that, its a funny I hope and occasionally sad and occasionally full of what I reckon, memoir, childhood teenage memoir about how boys are suppose to be boys and men are suppose to be men and all the different rules.
The kind people at mumsnet have set up some of the chapter titles, chapter 8 here, boys don't cry, we're going straight into the sad bit of the book, as my mum died when I was just 17 and this chapter is about how all the stuff I had learnt about how to be a boy, well a lot of the stuff was to do with emotional repression, about how if you have unwanted feelings like sadness or grief or fear or anxiety or shame, then what you do with them is ignore them, bottle it up, shrug it off and I got that message loud and clear and it left me unprepared for adversity when it came along.

flicks on ipad to show the chapter title BOYS ARE BRAVE
Earlier in the book I was a countryside coward, I'm from Lincolnshire, I lived in terror of wasps, nettles and I used to play with my friends in a local farm and they were always doing stuff that I thought was wildly dangerous but they didn't seem to care, so there's a bit of stuff about that.

flicks ipad to the title chapter BOYS LOVE SPORTS
I talk about the time when I through a bit of a mix up had to wear girls socks on sports day, not funny at the time, hopefully funny now.

flicks ipad to the title chapter BOYS AREN'T SHY
Boys aren't shy, it seemed to me that boys were suppose to be cheeky and boisterous and rowdy I was almost completely silent, every time there was a friends birthday party I would wait for the bit where the mum said puts on weary voice "I wish they were all like you Robert" as she cleared away the rest of what was left of the Angel Delight, I was almost indignant if I didn't get that compliment, at some point, but I was uneasy too, as I knew that boys weren't suppose to be quiet but they were suppose to be noisy.

flicks ipad to the title chapter MEN ARE ORGANISED

Men are organised, oh blimey, yes that's the beginning of the second part of the book, so there is acting like a boy, acting like a man, it's divided in two halves, this is about how I.... this bit doesn't really relate to gender at all so I'm going to skip that bit.

flicks ipad to the title chapter MEN DON't NEED THERAPY

Men don't need therapy, ah yes well my mum died and it was three years before I saw any proper help for that, I was very lucky as I happened to be a student at the time and that university had a free counselling service so I talk a bit about talking therapy and how it was useful for me.

flicks ipad to the title chapter MEN UNDERSTAND WOMEN

Men understand women laughs errr yes I got dumped, when I was about, well I've been dumped countless times, but a really good one when I was about 21 and I was going around thinking I was very liberal and a bit of a feminist and stuff and I say at the end of the preceding chapter, a young man may call himself a feminist, but thats not a test of character it's not even a test of feminism, we'll find out just how much he thinks women have minds of their own when one of them breaks his heart at which point we might all be in for a bit of a disappointment. My reaction was to write her a nine page letter telling her how she was out of her mind.

flicks ipad to the title chapter MEN KNOW WHO THEY ARE

Men know who they are, that's pretty much the final chapter, I'm not going to spoil the surprise.

turns ipad around to face him

that's all that and now Rachel has some questions that may or may not have been coming in or maybe you're just staring at me in bafflement and loathing, who knows

someone at mumsnet hq or his management whisper reminds him about the signed copy thing

RW: oh yes and theres a chance to win a signed copy of this if you send a question in waves book around the forth coming bit of time

Rachel: So a username that I can't hear asks what made you decide to write this book.

RW: a username I'm not sure of asks what made me decide to write this book, I thought I had... good question, horribly good question. I thought I had a good story to tell, a mixture of very typical things, teenage angst, finding childhood, I was mainly content but also finding it baffling in many ways, as everyone does and slightly unusual, I know worse things happen all the time but its a bit unusual to lose your mum when you're a teenager, what I do for a living is a bit unusual its not normal to work on television. So I thought there was a nice mixture there, and I've always had this preoccupation with gender probably because I couldn't do any of that stuff, and I thought the way to approach that subject about how boys are taught how to be boys and girls are taught how to be girls was through a memoir going back to childhood because that is where it starts, that's where you start getting all these messages and rules about how your suppose to behave because of the contents of your pants.

Rachel: One has just come in, did you think you're book would take the pressures off men and boys , by showing its ok not to be a typical boy?

RW: Did you hear Rachel? Let's assume you can't hear Rachel, Did I hope that my book would take the pressure off boys and men, erm sort of, its the book I'd of been glad to read when I was a teenage.... ermmm yes, but I would emphasize that I'm just telling one story of A boy and A man, this is not true of everyone, but I'm trying to ring some bells because I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only one who found some of this stuff a bit of tight fit and I'm not the only man who's sometimes finds himself incapable of answering the question, what the matter.
Luckily it doesn't matter that much, that I have these problems because I don't work in the WhiteHouse or the Kremlin and I'm not in charge of a major world religion so if it's just me, we're fine.

Rachel: I have no idea what she's saying tbh, but Robert Webb is repeating the questions so problem solved!

RW: What would my top advice be for a quirky 11 year old who's rubbish at football? A boy I'm assuming? Just get through it mate, you've got to do it, so my advice is, me on the football pitch, my method was to find the patch of ground where I was least likely to be passed a football, because when I was passed a football things went wrong, very wrong, so I just kept out of the way. I was very good at finding a space, if you're really rubbish at it, no one is going to pass you
the ball anyway, so you're just having a bit of a run around, think of it as exercise, it's very healthy.

RW: How much is my book? At the moment.. well according to this thumbs book how much is my book, well you'd think I'd be interested. According to this its £16.99 but I bet you can get it cheaper then that, I know you can get it cheaper then that, hive are a website that do independent bookshops and bring them all together, I'm pretty sure you can get it for a tenner from them, waterstones is already discounting it, its cheaper then that on amazon, but anyway the full FULL price is 176 quid but no one is going to pay that.

RW: Did I find my tribe at university ? Did I feel like I belonged? Yes by the time I was a student, some of this stuff was definitely receding and also you can choose your friends all over again, the friends that you have at school are usually to do with people who happen to live near by, but when you get to university, if that's what you want to do, then you can reinvent the whole thing if that's what you choose to, and yep I surrounded myself with men who'd never been in a fight in their lives and we're doing their best to see the other humans as women, as fully human and fully equal. Those are the men that I chose to hang out with, and the women that I chose to hang out with were of a similar attitude, liberals their called, but erm, there are liberal conservatives as well, funny breed, but they do exist.

RW: A mum says sell me your book as a mum of a teen and a tween RW looks confused why should I buy it?
erm I don't know mate, you don't have to, errr not sure the publisher would like that answer, erm buy it because its 80% funny, in all this discussion, it's easy to miss that I've been a professional comedy writer for 20 years and the way I communicate in writing is through jokes so if you just want a laugh and nothing else buy this book, because people who know what they're talking about, have said out loud that this is a funny book.
There is an audio book available as well, published by audible the audio book people, I read it out myself it took 4 days, its 9 and a half hours long, I haven't listened to it, I am an actor but even I draw the line at listening to my own voice for 9 hours, but I assume it's fine, they seem happy.

Part 2 incoming after I've had lunch grin

MrsHathaway Fri 01-Sep-17 15:09:13

<jaw drops>

That's FABULOUS. Thank you so much for giving me so much of your time. Really don't do any more!

And it's exactly what I need to access the content, y'see, MNHQ? Exactly like that. Please.


workQnamechange Fri 01-Sep-17 15:46:14

RW: Did feeling awkward drive me into comedy and drama? 100% yes, because I've been funny, even at primary school I was doing impressions of teachers and making up amusing songs by changing the lyrics to pop songs. That helped a) not getting bullied as I'd latch onto biggest lad who wasn't himself a bully and he would protect me from the other bullies, so I'd always have a little gang of mates. And sort of discovered that I could do that on a stage of people I hadn't met, at about 13 doing school plays then I started writing my own sketches and we would put them on at lunch time at the end of term and most of the school would come and see, so yeah 14/15/16 that's when I started doing it and by then I was pretty sure I wanted to turn it from a hobby into a job.

RW: How do I balance having children with having a busy professional life? So I have these two girls who are six and eight, and basically it's a... what I firstly do is get very very fussy about the acting work that I'm doing now because I've had this unbroken series of lucky breaks, that puts me in a position where I get to be a bit fussy about what I do.
And also doing this points to books means that writing this I was at home, usually I wrote it while the girls were at school. If there was a deadline, then I definitely wrote for a bit longer then four o'clock and Abbey my wife took up most of the slack, in the pick ups and drop offs during that time, but she works as well, so we cover each other and it's a conversation you just muddle through, we used to have a bit of child care, we used to have some help, they had a nanny when they were little and that helped as well as again we're very lucky. But we're doing it ourselves now and have been doing it ourselves now for a very long time. You struggle through don't you, you make it up as you go along, but we've had some lucky breaks along the way.

RW: What advise would I give to my daughters as they are growing up? I'd say be yourself, express yourself whichever way you want to and don't be told how to behavior just because you're a girl and if I had a boys I'd saying the same thing.
It's not a fascist state that they live in where they aren't allowed to play with dolls or prams or wear the colour pink by the way, they do all that, but they've also been given the option of doing karate, I play football with them in the garden, they're about to overtake me actually in skill levels, quite soon, but I'm still basically better at football then the eight year old.
We just try to encourage them to be whatever they want to be.

RW: Why am I so sarcastic? I think I'm actually coming across as reasonably sincere, I think this is my sincere face, I think this is about as earnest I get when I've got an audience watching. I've been very sarcastic playing the character Jeremy in Peep Show, he's very sarcastic character, so that's usually it. If i'm sarcastic in my own life, its probably some sort of defense mechanism going on.

RW: What advice would I give to a 17 year old Robert Webb looking back now? I would tell him don't worry so much about girls, it's going to be fine, relax. When I was 17 I thought I was incredibly old to be a virgin as lots of my friends had girlfriends and I thought I was literally the last person in the world who hadn't had sex and I'd tell him to calm down and if he's that bothered why not have a bath more then once a week!

RW: Who was the one person I looked up to? Well my mother was the first person I looked up to and I still really respect the woman that she was, she had a tough life and she coped brilliantly so that would be the answer to that. My wife is probably my favourite person in the world now and I've written this book to earn her respect.

RW: If the book is made into a TV show, who would I like to play me? I think that would be another book were I am in my 60's so I can be played by Mark Hamill, but I would like the young Mark Hamill to play me as a teenager and the 30 something Mark Hamill to play me as a young father.

RW: Mini Eggs or Minstrels? long pause minstrels. But that is hard.

RW: Will my relationship with my father affect how I am as a parent? well my father died in 2013, when I was very young he was a difficult man to live with, he was on a pretty short fuse, he was pretty shouty and occasionally punished his sons physically. But to put that in context, this was the 70s when corporal punishment was still happening in primary schools and teachers were still allowed to come at you with a stick, in school. So it was a very different time, but yes when I first became a father, I completely freaked out and started copying, not those aspects of dad's behavior, but certainly there was a bread winning panic going on in my head and I started saying yes to all kinds of jobs, that I should of not done. Abbey was working, I was working, we could of muddle through, but instead I was just out of the door working as much as possible, partly because of that thing of where you kind of go " I'm a man I must work" and also lets face it because being in charge of very very small children is relentless and boring and very hard work and I had a sort of.. as a bloke you get this pass to, go and earn the money and it's sort of said does macho voice "This is the way it's been for generations " of course doesn't matter if it's been that way for generations, burning witches was the way for generations.

RW: Do I have any unfulfilled ambitions? I've been very lucky as I wanted to be a comedy actor and writer on TV and I wanted to be in a sitcom and I wanted to be in a sketch show and I never really wanted to be a big Hollywood star, I don't want to live in America whispers dramatically "It looks awful!"
So I'm really happy doing this, erm the book stuff is a new venture really, this is my first proper book. I would like to write a novel, it was a two book deal so there is an idea, I think quite a good idea for a novel and that will be the next thing I do, I've also made a new sitcom with David Mitchell called Back and that starts on Channel 4, next week.
So there is lots that erm my ambition is to just carry on doing this stuff as not many people get to do what they want to do and my ambition is to keep this going.

RW: Jacob who's six wants to know is it Lego or playmobil weird look to mumsnet HQ staff to confirm Playmobil?!
I think you can tell from me not even... trails off it's Lego, Lego all the way, I'm nuts about Lego, the girls play with Lego. At one point at the beginning of the year I was giving up smoking and I deliberately bought a Lego Millennium Falcon, so I would have something to do on New Years day with my hands, I didn't let them build it! They were allowed to play with it after Daddy built it, that was the rule, so Lego yes.

RW: Amy ( a poster) says I've come so far my family should be proud of me? well thank you very much, I'm sure the living and dead ones all are laughs thank you very much

The end grin

blockb Fri 01-Sep-17 15:47:17

Oh well name change fail part way through that!

That's FABULOUS. Thank you so much for giving me so much of your time. Really don't do any more!
I'm insanely passionate about accessibility online! so no problem at all, enjoy!

MrsHathaway Fri 01-Sep-17 15:48:57

Thank you!

LornaMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 01-Sep-17 16:00:51


Agree with MrsHathaway, that is just fabulous!

Thanks so much for flagging this to us.

We think it's a really good point that we need to take on board.

We are currently investing in some new technology which - we hope - will enable us to download the streams in higher resolution after they've finished.

From here, we will upload to YouTube where viewers can opt in for the auto-subtitles.

In the meantime, we'll keep our eye out for any developments on Facebook's side (they don't currently offer auto subtitles like the ones you might see on the news).

We do hope to update more soon.

flowers and cake

MrsHathaway Fri 01-Sep-17 16:06:34

Thanks, Lorna. Glad it's on the radar.


BlockB Fri 01-Sep-17 16:10:29

From here, we will upload to YouTube where viewers can opt in for the auto-subtitles.

When you upload to youtube you have the option of allowing people to contribute subtitles (in English but also other languages) to the subtitles and they submit basically what I did above but in the timing to the video and mumsnet HQ can approve or deny them. There is quite a large group of people on youtube that do that, and they are far far far better then the auto CC ones, which tend to have lots of mistakes due to accents and mumbling etc, can you consider opening up this as an option when you upload to youtube?

I've explained this crap! But the youtube link below explains better grin

AmIAWeed Mon 04-Sep-17 07:33:25

I am blown away by BlockB's transcript that is utterly fantastic! Audio typing is pretty time consuming but really worth it because the auto caption tools often make mistakes.
I totally agree with having the transcript available as well as captions/subtitles, not just for those who are deaf but the transcript makes it far easier to translate into different languages for a wider audience.
Facebook recently made a change to their settings on videos to auto play with sound, I and most people I know have turned this off in settings. Facebook claim 85% of people watch videos without sound, so if you're traveling or just in a room not wanting to disturb others captions ensure video content can be enjoyed so that's YET ANOTHER reason to put them on.
There are accessibility guidelines that cover web content, in the UK and most of Europe the accepted standard is WCAG 2.0. They do have separate guidance for live video and pre recorded. Essentially, pre-recorded you should have alternatives at the same time as posting, for live as soon as possible afterwards. I do hope Mumsnet not only listen to users and their experience but start looking at accessibility standards to make it a truly welcoming and inclusive platforms to help all Mums not just the able bodied ones

tribpot Mon 04-Sep-17 07:43:22

In the meantime, MN, if you wanted to ask for volunteers to transcribe as workQnamechange has done so brilliantly here, please do - I can touchtype at a pretty high speed and I'm sure lots of other MNers can as well.

NotCitrus Mon 04-Sep-17 08:48:48

Just to say thank you so much to the transcribers of this interview - I was looking forward to reading it and hadn't realised it would be video.

One in seven adults has hearing loss, probably a similar number have sensory or processing issues meaning they struggle with having to listen - add all the people who don't want to play sound out loud where they are, and that's a lot of your audience being excluded.

I'll just echo the fact that auto subtitles are not fit for use, beyond creating a very first draft for someone to edit which may be quicker than them audio typing. If you're an individual volunteer creating a video, I'll appreciate auto subtitles, but from any company or organisation Ill take it as a sign they aren't interested in my money or views.

GinandGingerBeer Mon 04-Sep-17 09:16:40

Fuck me, now I have something in my eye! blush honestly what a lovely thing to do @BlockB.
What a star. flowers

MrsHathaway Mon 04-Sep-17 09:24:33

I know, right? Meanwhile on AIBU there's somebody wailing that MN is all meanness and sniping. Nope ...

Blockb Mon 04-Sep-17 16:43:52

Thanks all, was no problem at all, glad others have enjoyed it and made the interview accessible to them! cakeflowers. Apologies for some of the typos, I noticed some afterwards but no edit button blush

magimedi Mon 04-Sep-17 17:33:35

Blockb - you are a real star.

And they call this place a nest of vipers...................

Saucery Mon 04-Sep-17 17:40:24

Just when you're thinking same old, same old about MN, along comes a poster like BlockB and does something fantastic like that. Which I also enjoyed as I don't like vlogs. thanks

MrsHathaway Tue 17-Oct-17 12:23:06

Bumping as a gentle reminder to MN that your recent rash of "MN Live" on FB and the later posted videos are not accessible to those of us with hearing problems.

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