For the past few weeks during the Coronavirus period, I have been researching and trying out different video conferencing services. I will admit I do not like the popular service called Zoom as find it visually inaccessible but it does have it’s merits.

So during this time of experimenting and research found a brief but useful guide to accessible video conferencing software/services.

Best video conferencing apps and software for accessibility by the Big Hack
https://bighack.org/best-videoconferencing-apps-and-software-for-accessibility/

My conclusions are very similar to what is stated in the article in the link above.

I made a choice which I detail below.

As a Deaf business owner, I have found that Google Meet meets my needs for the most part – the Live Captioning facility is the best I have used even though it doesn’t always pick up what I’m saying.

Why? You may ask. Well, I have what’s called a “Deaf Accent” – I miss out certain part of words such as S, Sh and other parts of words. Speech therapy can only teach you so much and these are things that are cannot be lipread or picked up without sound.

Also the other pitfall of live captioning are how words might be detected wrongly – an example: I attended a meeting a few months ago, the section we were talking about was finance and arts. The live captioning application I used told me that the discussion was comically about badminton and chocolate….also a couple of rude things… oops! Confusion much?

You cannot replace the human element with a machine yet.

  • Palantypists
  • Notetakers
  • Lipspeakers
  • Sign language interpreters

and more.

The people who do the jobs listed above do a tremendous job. I have hired a number of different people over the past few years and the job they do cannot be matched or rivalled by a machine…(ever?)

I do want to point out something else about the Live Captioning on Google Meet. The ability to move the captions into a more suitable position on the screen is a fabulous feature which is something I have never seen before.

I just hope for one thing, that the Google Meet team makes it easier to reorganise the chat windows so you can prioritise who you’re looking at (in my case a BSL Interpreter) and allow you to use a flexible grid system – not too different to Zoom’s gallery view.

Google Meet
https://meet.google.com/

What are your experiences?

What video conferencing you found to work for you and why?