The goal of Immersive Accessibility (ImAc), funded by the EU as part of the H2020 framework, is to explore how accessibility tools and access services can be integrated into immersive media and in particular 360 degree content. It is not acceptable that accessibility is regarded as an afterthought; rather it should be considered throughout the design, production and delivery process.
ImAc is specifically addressing the needs of deaf, hard of hearing, partially sighted and blind communities. One of the main aims of the project is to explore new presentation methods for different access services (Subtitles, Audio Description, Audio Subtitling and Sign Language) in 360 degree content. This enables us to offer a hyper-personalized environment where viewers with very specific accessibility requirements can fully customize the immersive experience.
Through a user centred design process that includes stakeholders in all the development phases of the project, ImAc is developing a set of tools and services that the media industry (broadcasters, content distributors, producers, content creators, etc.) will be able to use to offer fully accessible 360 degree content.
Around 150 end-users have been involved through an iterative process to generate user requirements as well as to evaluate our developments. More than 50 professionals currently working with existing subtitling, audio description and sign language tools in legacy content production have been involved in the process. ImAc not only offers an accessible viewing experience but also the tools required to create accessible content.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 761974.