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COMPLIANCE AND THE ADA

by superuser on May 15, 2018

At Verbit.ai, we take pride in creating a platform accessible to all those in the education market. This goes for educators and students. We understand the importance of providing content which suits every special need of those wanting to further themselves in their education.  In many instances, this has proved to be difficult for those with learning disabilities or sensory disabilities, therefore our proprietary technology has been fine-tuned to address the specific needs in this field.

In 1990, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) was welcomed into law as a means of providing equality for people with disabilities. This meant equal opportunities across the board from the work place to school, through state and local government services, transportation, and through the use of commercial facilities.

However, in order to create disability standards, it is important to understand how disability is defined.  The ADA decided to create a greater general emphasis on how disability is defined in 2008 and both physical and mental aspects are now being taken into account. For people who have any type of disability, whether it psychological or emotional, the ADA focuses on providing equal services and accommodating their needs where necessary.

Before the ADA was established, there were no legal requirements for organisations to cater to the needs of the disabled population. For example, ramps in public buildings were not mandatory previously but moreso a conscious choice.

In order to assess the different interactions and areas that disabled people may encounter, the ADA has been split into 5 categories and these are employment, public entities, public accommodations, telecommunications, and miscellaneous provisions.

EDUCATION

The first components prohibit any discrimination in the education system. This includes experiencing discrimination directly or via the use of online learning content. Transcribing and captioning online video content are two of the ways communication has been made much more accessible for sensory disabled students. As the ADA do not specifically focus on online video or video captioning, they do require a service called “auxiliary aids” which provides equal service and access to disabled people.

PUBLIC ENTITIES

Public entities refer to places and services accessible to the general public. For example, schools, courts, police departments and more. This section addresses discrimination against disabled people in these areas. Furthermore, in employment, disabled workers must not be alienated or be unable to perform tasks due to inaccessible processes or procedures. In many instances, video captioning is necessary for training purposes and other forms of communication within the work place.

PUBLIC ACCOMODATIONS

Public accommodations often include public places such as hotels, public transportation, restaurants, shops, cinemas, museums, doctors offices, and more. Such locations must be accommodating to disabled visitors, thus they must include facilities which are easily accessible without compromising the enjoyment of the individual. The products and services provided should be of equal quality to those with disabilities as they are to those without disabilities.

While public accommodation has been traditionally defined as, “a physical construction whose operation affects the global market.”, this definition has since been broadened to include online services such as Netflix who are now labelled under the public accommodation model.

Entities such as Netflix had faced criticism for failing to comply with regulations set by the ADA and in 2010, they were targeted by NAD (National Association of the Deaf) for not including video captioning on much of their online videos. By 2012, Netflix decided to settle the suit by agreeing to caption up to 100% of their videos by 2014.

In the new age of modern technology, online sites must provide services which are accessible to sensory disabled people in the same manner in which public entities do in the form of different building constructions and facilities for physically disabled people.

Online video captioning has become more relevant as more and more people have been living their lives via online media on a daily basis. Captioning is a necessary way of enabling deaf viewers to watch programs via syncing audio with written text.

Even though ADA does not specifically focus on online video captioning, there is an increasing number of government bodies that do and, in doing so, comply to many standard regulations. These include syncing captions in time with audio, replacing caption frames with another caption, +99% accurate spelling and grammar, readable font, and more.

For many disability advocates such as Verbit.ai,  the ADA is a much needed entity as they continue to ensure services are equally effective for those with disabilities.

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