jQuery accessible HTML5 video captioning plugin

Last month, I wrote an article on Accessible HTML5 Video with JavaScripted captions and dreamed that some clever JavaScripters would take it up and improve it, making it more generic so that a developer could mark up a transcript with timestamps, call in a library and -hey presto!- there would be captions.

Those nice chaps at 360innovate have started work on a jQuery plugin called jCaps.

As it’s all open licensed, if anyone fancies participating, it would be jolly. Here’s a wishlist that I’d love to see, and would write if I were not so scripting-challenged:

  1. It would be useful to point to the transcriptions via the aria-describedby attribute on the video element, the values of which point to the id of an element containing the transcript (which could therefore be an article, a div or whatever). You can have multiple values on aria-describedby (like you can with class) so that allows you to point to different translations.

    This allows you to have transcripts anywhere in the source, so greater flexibility for laying out the page.

  2. If there are multiple transcripts for a single video, they need to have a lang attribute, and the script should construct a select element so the user can choose the language they wish to see transcripts in. (The first one offered should be the transcript that matches the lang attribute on the html element; if there isn’t one, the default should be the first in source order.

  3. I’d love to see a sexy (and stylable) skin around the video element that had a YouTube-stylee user interface that houses all the buttons for turning on captions, transcripts and the language picker.

Anyone up for the challenge, and generous enough to release it as a BSD-licensed library/plug-in?

Note that this technique will have a limited shelf-life. The HTML Accessibility Working Group have two specifications that will enable captioning etc to be done natively once the spec is agreed and (of course) implemented.

See my related post: Some accessibility today or full accessibility jam tomorrow?

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