Towards Improving Universal Design and Accessibility - EOC Launches iPhone App and Videos with Audio Descriptions
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) introduced today (13 June 2013) a newly developed iPhone app and videos with audio descriptions to facilitate access to the EOC’s information by the general public.
Speaking at the press conference, Dr. York CHOW Yat-ngok, Chairperson of the EOC, said, “These two initiatives symbolize the EOC’s continuous commitment to advocating and improving universal design and accessibility. The EOC’s iPhone app makes current equal opportunity issues and trends easier to follow, while our iPhone game is an example of how this type of entertainment can be inclusive for everyone. On the other hand, our videos with audio descriptions will provide people with visual impairment easy access to information about discrimination cases. In addition, they widen opportunities for people with visual impairment to share happy memories of viewing infotainment shows with their friends and families.”
With regards to the iPhone app’s development, Dr. Chow noted, “The development of our iPhone app was motivated by two key considerations. First, the use of social media platforms is becoming more and more popular as a means to acquire information. Therefore, it is necessary for the EOC to strengthen communication with the public by means of new media platforms. The EOC has developed our smart phone app to enable the general public to conveniently get access to our information by mobile phones. Furthermore, the principle of “web accessibility” has been adopted and emphasized in the design of our smart phone app in order to facilitate access to online information and services by all segments of the community including people with disability.”
The EOC iPhone app features the introduction to the EOC, a brief description of the four anti-discrimination ordinances, our latest news, a multimedia centre and a mini-game. Another significant feature of the app is that it provides users with “Barrier-Free Access Support” to cater to the special needs of different users. The app provides options of large text, large icon as well as yellow text on black background, and supports existing iPhone accessibility functions such as voice-over. The mini-game entitled “Dark Maze Mini Game” involves a creative playing method and can be played by everyone, including people with visual or hearing impairment. By playing the game with the screen facing down, players can experience a simulated aspect of the life of persons with visual impairment and better understand their needs in a relaxed way.
Ms. Garling WONG, Convenor of the EOC’s Community Participation and Publicity Committee, remarked, “Equal access to information made available on the Internet is a basic right for people with disability and is protected by the Disability Discrimination Ordinance. By being a role model in this area, we hope all web and app developers will follow these good practices and adopt accessibility design in their website and app development to make websites and apps more accessible and friendly to different segments of the community. The adoption of web accessibility principles not only facilitates people with special needs to browse online information without barriers, but also contributes to a more caring and inclusive society.”
The EOC app for Android users are being developed and will be launched later this year. To facilitate non-iPhone and non-Android users to get access to our information with their mobile phones conveniently, the EOC has developed the “EOC Mobile Web App”, a webpage with the content of the EOC smart phone app designed to fit the screen size of mobile phones for easy reading. The EOC Mobile App is available at the following website: http://www.eocapp.com/index.php
The EOC iPhone app is available for download now by searching on your iPhone/iPad for “Equal Opportunities Commission” in Apple’s App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/hk).
Videos with audio descriptions
To effectively spread the messages of equal opportunities among persons with visual impairment, the EOC has collaborated with the Hong Kong Society for the Blind (HKSB) to produce videos with audio descriptions. In these videos, the actions and scenes are verbally described, in addition to the original sound effects and dialogues. “This joint project has indeed been a meaningful one. It has provided more infotainment/entertainment choices for people with visual impairment and the elderly, and helped them integrate into society. They have been able to watch the award-winning videos produced by the EOC to promote the messages of equal opportunities in various aspects of daily life," said Dr. York CHOW Yat-ngok, Chairperson of the EOC.
Ms Emily Chan, Manager of the Information Accessibility Centre of The Hong Kong Society for the Blind (HKSB), added, “We are delighted to join the EOC in producing videos with descriptions to promote equal opportunities. With audio descriptions, the visual is made verbal. Professional narrators use succinct, vivid and imaginative words to describe the visual images to the audience. It makes videos accessible for people with visual impairment or the elderly.”
As a start, the EOC’s videos with audio descriptions were produced for 5 episodes of “A Mission for Equal Opportunities”, together with one winning entry from the EOC’s short video competition. The videos which are available at the EOC YouTube Channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/HKEOC), are listed as follows:
1. “Harassment” - Episode 1, 6th Series of “A Mission for Equal Opportunities” (2009) 《按摩有罪》to promote the message of preventing sexual harassment
2. “Destined Equality” - Episode 1, 3rd Series of “A Mission for Equal Opportunities” (2003) 《緣來自平等》to promote equal opportunities for people with visual impairment
3. “Twins” - Episode 6, 3rd Series of “A Mission for Equal Opportunities” (2003) 《雙生兒》to promote equal opportunities for students with specific learning disability
4. “Internet Blind-spot” - Episode 3, 2nd Series of “A Mission for Equal Opportunities” (2000) 《網路盲點》to promote the equal right of people with visual impairment to access the internet
5. “A Sightless Smile” - Episode 2, 1st Series of “A Mission for Equal Opportunities” (1998) 《沒有眼神的微笑》to promote equal opportunities for people with visual impairment
6. “Acceptance” – Special Merit Award winner of the EOC’s video competition (2009) to promote the messages of inclusion and diversity
Also attending the ceremony were representatives from the HKSB, audio describers and people with visual impairment. They shared their experiences and enjoyment in developing the EOC’s award-winning videos with audio descriptions.
For media inquiries, please contact Mr. Sam HO at 2106-2187.
13 June 2013
Equal Opportunities Commission