Not All Disabilities Are Visible! with Mark Elliott

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Not All Disabilities Are Visible– Why is Accessible Content Key for Businesses and Individuals? with Mark Elliott

Have you ever given a second thought to your scrolling experience? Maybe on a train without headphones, next to someone sleeping in the same room, or even, while you’re in the bathroom? 

In these situations you’ve probably said: “I wish there were subtitles, I want to know what they’re saying!” 

Some people live their life saying this phrase. People who are hard of hearing, or deaf. People like Mark. 

Creating accessible and inclusive content is long-overdue in a world with hundreds of solutions available at your fingertips… 

So, for International Persons with Disabilities Day we sat down with Mark, co-founder of Startup School for Seniors, to talk about how accessible content unlocks hidden potential for businesses, and an entirely new world for those who are hard of hearing, or deaf. 

Many businesses forget to create inclusive content, and miss a very large chunk of not only talent but markets and communities they could be capturing. How does disability inclusive content, or lack of, change your own online experience?

There is so much Instagram content that passes me by, especially on Instagram Stories. Businesses don’t consider subtitling their IG stories or even their IG TV content. I have to set up my assisted devices so that phone content is available.

Stories are less likely to be subtitled due to their backstage or informal nature. People spend a lot of time with their filters and editing of images, but none on the readability of sound.

Some Content Providers rely on YouTube Auto CC content, and I saw a comment today that the Auto CC content was pretty spot on...but it’s not if you rely on it to understand the content. 

Auto generated captions often miss key subject matter which means that if you rely on the text alone, you are left wondering about the content because it basically doesn’t make sense.

Digital inclusion is often overlooked simply because of the underrepresentation on most platforms. How have you made disability inclusion a priority at Startup School for Seniors?

We have provided for visual and hearing impairments with captions, transcripts and videos of all of our content. So that individuals can learn at their own pace in the way that works for them. 

We provide homework, as video and written content, and we aim our online Q&A sessions to provide support for any learners to explore challenges they may be experiencing. (Discover the 6 reasons to sse subtitles if you’re in education

We mix both formal and informal content which can make things more awkward for some neurodiverse students but engaging for others, but we are listening and learning about how we can make things more effective.

At Startup School For Seniors we value showing examples of lived experience with our founder and expert interviews. We are looking forward to increasing our portfolio of founders and experts with disabilities in the new year.

What are companies and creators missing when they don't create accessible content?

It’s not so much what the companies and creators are missing, but rather the bad reputation that they are creating for themselves as individuals and brands that exclude a large portion of society.

As we’ve seen with TikTok, it is possible to create engaging content that brings in people with hearing loss and other disabilities without building barriers, without cutting us off from content and product and service sales. 

Do you think disability inclusive content creators can be a good first step to spreading more awareness about creating accessible content? 

It’s as much about seeing the world we are aiming to create, as providing examples, listening to the challenges our students, and potential students are having.

What do you wish more business and content creators knew when it came to disability inclusion?

How simple it is to produce text-based support for video and audio content.

Design is important and useful for visual impairment, as you design the look of your brand so you can design the look and sound of your content

Have your own thoughts on disability inclusion when creating content?Share this article on LinkedIn and tag us! We’d love to hear how your experience changed with subtitles.

Discover more about subtitling your content and maximising reach here.

Mark Elliott

Mark is a Guest Writer with Subly and Co-Founder at Startup School for Seniors.

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