Ensure that users know when content access services are available

Rationale

People who require content access services subtitles, audio description and sign language interpreting need to know which programmes have them and which do not. If a new programme starts on the channel they are watching, or they switch to a different channel, they will need the information immediately. This is because it may take some time before the first access service (e.g. A subtitle or audio description) occurs within the programme. Without knowing immediately if the programme has access services users are required to wait some time to find out. If they are looking up programme listings to decide what to watch, they will need this information in the listing, so they can make an informed decision.

Directions and techniques

Indicate the presence of content access services in programme listings

Whenever programme names appear in a listing, such as an on-screen programme guide or in a list of downloadable or recorded programmes, symbols or other visual indicators should be displayed against those programmes that include access services. Figure 7 shows a set of standard European access symbols proposed by the European standards organization ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute). If there is not enough space available to display access symbols, an adequate solution may be to use some kind of highlighting with an explanatory key.

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Figure 5. European standard access symbols for subtitling, audio description, signing, spoken output and voice commands, from ETSI.

Provide visual and audible signals on programme start

Recognisable audible and/or visible alerts should be issued when a new programme with content access services starts or when the user changes to a programme that includes access services. These should occur immediately the user starts watching the programme because it may be some time before the first access services appear within the programme. Without knowing immediately whether the programme has access services the user may have to wait some time to find out.

Indicate the presence of content access services in programme information

If the user requests more information about a programme, either within a menu listing or while watching a programme, that information should indicate any access services that are available for the programme.

How you could test for this

If visual and audible icons and signals are used to indicate content access services, it is important to find out whether they are effective. Tests should be carried out to assess whether they are noticeable and whether their meanings are recognisable and memorable. This should include people who are blind or have a visual difficulty and people who are deaf or hard of hearing.