A client we are working with is coming up with a project with a lot of content presented in video, and they want to make sure that a mobile audience can see the videos as well. We're investigating the best way to present mobile to both a desktop and mobile audience but one of the concerns was how to offer an text-based alternative for those who need it.
For the non-mobile browser, we're most likely sticking with a Flash video player, which makes closed captioning easy to do; we'll most likely also include a PDF transcript option. However, for mobile video things aren't nearly as clear. For one thing, we need to use a non-Flash method - which makes closed captioning much more difficult to do unless we embed it into the video itself. Which got me thinking...
Is closed captioning even a viable method of delivering a text alternative on mobile?
Obviously it's more applicable to larger screen mobile devices like the iPhone or Droid, but what concerns me are the various smaller screen devices - namely Blackberry phones. It seems that in order to make the closed captioning even readable, you'd have to take up so much space that you'd be in the way of the video itself. Or if you limited the size of the closed captioning space, the words would have to change so rapidly it would be unreadable.
And using a PDF as the text alternative is also problematic because most Blackberry devices do not come with a default PDF reader - so a large portion of our audience wouldn't be able to read the text document even if they were to download it.
So, any thoughts on the viability of text alternatives for videos presented on mobile devices (iPad excepted)? Is this such a fringe use case that it's not worth solving for (I'd say no, but that's me).