Videos and the cubicle effect on content consumption
They do great work over there on the java.sun.com editorial team, and they've been improving the site with lots of videos lately. The last three featured content pieces have been videos. That's excellent work, but it's inaccessible for a couple reasons.
First, I like to hit java.sun.com first thing in the day from my workplace. That's been a cubicle environment recently. I can quietly read a text article, even print it and read it later during a lunch break. Unfortunately, I can't do the same with the videos. They're fun, sure, but unwatchable because video and audio are distracting to others in the office. Bandwidth issues aside...people just don't like to hear this from another cube. I understand that, so I don't intrude on their peace and quiet. Unfortunately, the video is inaccessible to me. And when I get home, well, there's a better than even chance that I won't watch a tech video then either.
Second, the videos are inaccessible to those with hearing or sight impairments. Seems obvious, right? Can't hear...the audio isn't usable. Can't see...can't watch the video either. I suppose you could listen to the video -- but not in my cube. So, the videos are inaccessible to others too. Granted, those who can't benefit from the videos are a small minority. Still, wouldn't it be nice to include them as far as possible?
I think a solution is possible. Video is a great idea for java.sun.com, and clearly the medium is popular. Just witness the popularity of YouTube, etc. I think the videos could be improved though with something very simple. Transcripts.
Providing a transcript with the video would allow cubicle dwellers access to the content. The same transcript makes the content accessible to hearing and site impaired developers too. Can't hear -- you can read the transcript content. Can't see? Text readers exist for that case. Either way, the videos become more accessible to a larger group of people.
Is this a complaint? No way. I enjoy practically all of the content provided by java.sun.com. This is just a friendly suggestion, hoping that it will bring the content to an even wider audience.
It has been a long, long time since I last worked in a cubical environment. I find the experience undesirable but tolerable. It makes me curious though...just how many of us work in a cube environment? Might be a great polling opportunity for the java.net editors...