Author Archives: Gerardo Capiel

WordPress “WP YouTube Lyte” Plug-in Now Supports Accessibility Properties

At Benetech, one of the Seven Truths we live by is, “partnership over going alone.” Our collaboration with Frank Goossens is a fantastic example of the effectiveness of that principle. Recently, Benetech created a patch for Frank’s very popular “WP YouTube Lyte” plug-in that enables WordPress site administrators to automatically add accessibility properties to videos that have closed captions. As Frank announced in his February 3rd blog post, that patch has now been incorporated into the plug-in. “If you have microdata enabled, WP YouTube Lyte now will automatically check if captions are available and if so, adds the accessibilityFeature property with value ‘captions’ to the HTML-embedded microdata.”  Translation: users of this plug-in for their WordPress sites can now make their captioned videos more easily discoverable by people who need them.

Compare Results: With and Without Accessibility Properties

To see what this looks like in practice, compare the following two search results:

  1. Run a search for closed-captioned videos on the Predictive Analytics Today website using Google’s closed-captions filter, which does not yet leverage accessibility properties. The result: “Your search – – did not match any video results.”
  2. Next, run the same search using Google Custom Search Engine (CSE), which does allow you to filter results by any properties, specifically in this case the accessibilityFeature property. This time, the search result correctly returns a link to the web site that includes the closed-captioned video you were looking for.

Try It Yourself: Captioned Video Search on

If you would like to experiment with other Google CSE searches for closed-captioned videos, check out the Captioned Video Search link on under the “Implementations” menu.  Be sure to always have the filter “more:p:videoobject-accessibilityfeature:captions” included in the search box without the quotes.

Encourage Adoption of Accessibility Metadata

The good news is, with both an accessibility metadata standard in place, and successful implementations like the WP YouTube Lyte plug-in enhancement, we know how to create a search function for accessible content and we know that it works.  The next step: Encourage other content management systems, publishers, and sites like the Internet Archive and Wikimedia to start using metadata in their sites so that one day everyone will be able to find the great accessible content that is out there now but can’t yet be found by those who need it.

Pay It Forward: The Rewards of Collaboration

I encourage everyone to engage in collaborations with their favorite content and service providers. Said Frank in his blog post about the project, “This was the first time someone actively submitted code changes to add functionality to a project of mine, actually. Working with Benetech was a breeze and GitHub is a great platform to share, review and comment code. I for one am looking forward to more high-quality contributions like this one!”

We agree with you Frank!

Learning Registry Blazes New Trails with Accessibility Metadata

As I announced earlier this month, recently adopted our proposal for accessibility metadata tagging that will make it possible for anyone with access to the Internet and a search engine to more easily find accessible content and applications on the Web. (See “ Accepts Our Proposal!” January 2014.)  Exciting work is already underway that leverages the power that such tagging provides. In the meantime, we are working on reducing the barriers to entry for anyone to tag content with accessibility metadata.

Fostering universal adoption of accessibility metadata

In order for users to feel confident that everyone can really find all (or even most) accessible resources using a search engine there are two hurdles to clear:

(1)    All digital content and applications with accessibility features must be tagged with accessibility metadata whenever such features are present (e.g. image descriptions, tactile images, video captioning, support for screen readers, and the like).

(2)    Major search engines, like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex, and vertical search products, such as the Federal Registry for Educational Excellence ( must support accessibility metadata and display the associated information to the user in search results.

This is a chicken-and-egg problem – there is no reason for search engines to support tagging if the tagging isn’t in the content and there is no reason for people to tag content if the search engines don’t support it. How to break that impasse? The first step is to have free, easy tools available that anyone can use to attach metadata to digital content.

EasyPublish: First publicly available tool to support accessibility metadata

The Learning Registry, a leading metadata aggregation platform about online learning resources, has recently enhanced their EasyPublish tool to allow anyone to tag any digital content with accessibility information. This marks the first time that a tool has been made freely available for anyone – includinAccessibility Informationg teachers, publishers, content creators, parents, or students – to take advantage of accessibility metadata tagging, which in turn will make it possible for the average person to easily discover accessible materials using online search engines.  Jim Klo’s note to the developers’ Google group for this project includes a link to the sandbox area for this tool. There you can explore how it works and enter sample data without making your entry live. Or, if you have a resource that you would like to tag for real, you can visit the production site to register content and attach accessibility metadata tags to digital content.  One exciting feature of the Learning Registry is that anyone can describe the accessibility of a resource, even if they are not the original publisher of that resource.

Bookshare automatically puts accessibility metadata into Learning Registry-powered sites

Anyone can put metadata into Learning Registry for any piece of digital content by using the EasyPublish interface described above – it can be done either manually or autoFeature filtersmatically using the API (Application Programming Interface) that the Learning Registry provides. Using the Learning Registry API, Bookshare now automatically submits accessibility metadata for Bookshare books into the Learning Registry. This lays the groundwork for users of Learning Registry-powered sites, such as the Federal Registry for Educational Excellence (, to filter search results for Bookshare titles based on specific accessibility features, such as described images or MathML.

Smith-Kettlewell demonstrates described video tagging

Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute has developed a web-based video description product called YouDescribe that enables anyone to describe YouTube videos on the web.  To enable people with visual impairments to easily discover videos described with the YouDescribe platform, they have tagged their videos with accessibility properties.  Now those properties can be indexed by search engines such as Google Custom Search Engine.  Click here for an example search for tutorials about description.

Spread the word

We continue to be in dialogue with organizations such as Google and about the importance of supporting accessibility metadata tagging, but we can use all the help we can get. If you feel strongly about the importance of this initiative, please let your favorite search engine, publishers, and websites know how important it is to you to be able to easily find accessible materials on the web, including captioned videos, described images, and more. Accepts our Proposal!

I am delighted to announce that has accepted our proposal for a key set of accessibility metadata tagging that could allow anyone with access to the Internet to more easily locate content and applications with accessible features.  Google’s TV Raman and Yandex’s Charles McCathieNevile announced on “This work draws upon many collaborations and projects including the IMS Global Learning Consortium’s Access For All specification, the work of the Accessibility Metadata Project, alongside many discussions that helped ensure the work integrated well into” See my recent blog post on the Benetech web site about the Accessibility Metadata Project for more details. This is a tremendous milestone in our collaborative journey towards enabling a born accessible future and reaping its benefits. Many thanks and congratulations to all have contributed to this important work.