The Importance of British Sign Language Videos on Websites

20 May 2023

There is a distinct shift in the digital landscape towards inclusivity, a testament to our growing understanding and acceptance of people’s unique differences. One such area that’s seen considerable attention is in catering to those who are deaf or hard of hearing. In the UK, that often means incorporating British Sign Language (BSL) into websites and digital content. Here, we delve into why it’s not only essential but beneficial to include BSL videos on websites.

Understanding the Deaf Community in the UK

Before we look into the importance of having BSL videos on websites, let’s establish context by understanding the community that directly benefits from it.

  • Population: An estimated 151,000 individuals across the UK use BSL, with 87,000 of these being deaf. The rest are hearing people who have learned the language.
  • Language of Choice: BSL is not a derivative of English. It’s a complete language with a unique syntax and grammar. For most deaf people in the UK, it is their first or preferred language.
  • Lack of Accessibility: Despite the significant number of BSL users, there is a lack of accessible services and resources, especially in digital spaces.

The Imperative of BSL Videos on Websites

1. Enhanced Accessibility

Inclusion should be a standard, not an option. A website with BSL videos provides deaf and hard-of-hearing people with access to information they might otherwise miss.

  • Information Access: Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals often struggle to access information intended for a hearing audience. By incorporating BSL videos, you’re enabling them to access your content without restrictions.
  • User Experience: A website that caters to everyone enhances user experience, which can lead to better engagement and user retention.

2. Compliance with Legal Requirements

Incorporating BSL videos isn’t just morally right; it’s also a legal obligation.

  • Equality Act 2010: Under the Act, service providers must ensure that they don’t discriminate against people with disabilities. This includes making reasonable adjustments like including BSL videos to provide equal access to services.
  • Web Accessibility Regulations: The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018 mandates that all public sector websites should be accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

3. Strengthening Connection with Users

BSL videos provide an opportunity to create deeper connections with your users.

  • Communicating Respect: The effort to make content accessible communicates respect and value for all users, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Cultivating Trust: By catering to the needs of your users, you’re establishing a relationship of trust and loyalty with your audience.

4. Enhancing Brand Image

Including BSL videos on your website can also improve your brand image.

  • Demonstrating Social Responsibility: By making your content accessible to all, you’re showing that your brand is socially responsible and committed to inclusivity.
  • Differentiating your Brand: BSL videos can set your brand apart from competitors who may not provide the same level of accessibility.

Making Your Website BSL-Friendly

So, how can you incorporate BSL videos on your website? Here are some tips.

  1. Utilise Professional BSL Interpreters: Work with qualified interpreters to ensure that your content is translated correctly and effectively.
  2. Create BSL Video Alternatives: For every piece of written content, provide a BSL video alternative.
  3. Consider Placement and Size: Ensure your videos are easy to find and view.
  4. Provide Transcriptions: While BSL is essential, don’t neglect to provide written transcriptions for those who might prefer reading.
  5. Promote Your BSL Videos: Make sure your users are aware that you provide BSL video alternatives.

How I Can Help

I understand that making your website BSL-friendly can seem daunting, but I’m here to help. I can assist with the integration of BSL videos on your website, ensuring they are professionally interpreted, correctly placed, and properly promoted.

Contact me today to discuss how we can make your website more accessible to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. With a commitment to inclusivity, we can create a digital space where everyone feels welcome and understood. Together, we can set a new standard for accessibility in the digital world.

In summary, providing BSL videos on your website is a significant step towards achieving a more inclusive digital environment. It’s a powerful tool for bridging communication gaps, enhancing user experience, and ultimately, respecting the rights and needs of all individuals. After all, a truly inclusive society leaves no one behind, and every effort we make brings us one step closer to this ideal.