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Making it Accessible: A State of the Union that Everyone Can Experience

d7_blog_sotu_logoWith every State of the Union address, we have found new ways to share the President’s speech with the American people. Since this is his last one, we want to make sure that everyone can connect and engage with his address. That’s why we’ve worked hard to make sure that this is accessible in every way, so that all Americans, no matter where or how they tune in, can fully experience everything we’re doing around the State of the Union.

To start, check out the President’s preview video.

We posted the video with open captions so that the captions would appear no matter which social media platform you use, whether it’s Facebook, Youtube, or wherever you may be watching.

Here’s a few other steps we’re taking to ensure everyone can participate:

On Tuesday, in the lead up to the address, our pre-show will be captioned and live-streamed on WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU and will use communication access real-time translation — or CART captions — for attendees at the White House watch party. After all, it can be hard for anyone to hear over all of the excitement in the room!

Speaking of captions, we are providing real-time closed captioning in both English and Spanish for the enhanced livestream and Video-On-Demand on WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU and the White House YouTube.

On the technical side, WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU is built in Drupal 7, which as a platform is both responsive to more devices and conforms to W3C guidelines for accessibility (WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 2.0). It includes a variety of features that are built with screen reader and other assistive technology in mind. We have also tested our graphics on the website to make sure they don’t interfere with screen readers or speech recognition software. And stay tuned: We’ll make accessible versions of our graphics available with embedded metadata and image descriptions on WhiteHouse.gov.

And to make sure everyone can re-watch and understand exactly what the President had to say after he’s done, our YouTube channel will provide audiences with captioned Video-On-Demand files that offer an option to view a transcript of all the captions and jump to specific parts of the video.

So tune in on January 12 at 9:00pm ET to take advantage of all these features and more to lift your voice during President Obama’s last and most accessible State of the Union.