Here's How Rikki Poynter Is Making YouTube Better For Everyone
19 March 2015, 17:58 | Updated: 8 May 2017, 17:09
The hard-of-hearing vlogger is championing the use of closed captioning to make your favourite creators more accessible.
While YouTube content can usually be considered revolutionary, or innovative, or shaping media as we know it, there are still a few areas where its lack of support just put it back on par with its media predecessors, like TV and film.
Those areas include diversity (although some are working on that) and accessibility; particularly for YouTube users who may be hard-of -hearing or deaf (fewer are working on that). But one of the few trying to make the medium a little more accessible is our YouTuber of the Week, vlogger Rikki Poynter.
As well as being a part-time travel vlogger and beauty guru, Rikki is also an advocate for hard-of-hearing accessibility on YouTube. Being HOH herself, Rikki puts a lot of work into making content that hearing people can understand and enjoy; and doesn't think that it's too much to ask that others do the same for people in a similar situation as her.
YouTube has a closed captioning service, which unless your subtitles are manually input, doesn't do a very good job of detecting what the typical fast-talking YouTuber actually says. And if YouTube can't detect it, a HOH viewer who depends on lip-reading to enjoy content probably won't have an easy time either.
So Rikki is leading the charge with the HOH YouTube community, in encouraging hearing YouTubers to caption their videos. And so far, she is definitely making waves: Thanks to her influence, prominent and progressive creators like Chescaleigh, Laci Green, the Vlogbrothers and even Tyler Oakley are making the effort to include full captions in their videos.
But even though maintaining an accessible Youtube is pretty serious business, Rikki isn't afraid to use her hearing to deliver some excellent punch-up humour; such as in her video "Shit Hearing People Say", a hilarious commentary on all the less-informed questions and opinions you might hear from people who have a very limited understanding of deafness.
Hopefully with Rikki's influence, more and more YouTubers will make the effort to make their content more accessible.
If you're a creator looking to find out more on captioning your videos, you can look at Google's transcript support page, or if you can afford to pay someone to do it for you, check out captioning service ZenCaptions.