FAQ: Scribe For Meetings
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What is Scribe for Meetings?
Scribe for Meetings is a cloud-based technology that takes a shared presentation on platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and others and renders it into an accessible presentation in real time for print-impaired individuals.
Who benefits from Scribe for Meetings?
First and most importantly, the millions of print-impaired persons who would otherwise not benefit from the information being presented; and, the masses of businesses large and small, government agencies, all levels of education,, and organizations who know little about accessibility but would like an affordable means of making their content more inclusive.
Why should I choose Scribe for Meetings over other products?
We’re confident there is nothing else out there that does what we do quite the way we do it. Scribe for Meetings is the first technology of its kind to synchronize with meeting platforms in real time. Sure, competitors will take note and likely roll out their imitations, and we look forward to the competition ,but unless they plan on competing on price, we feel confident you will find what you need right here.
How does Scribe for Meetings work?
If you are the host:
Visit ScribeForMeetings.com, paste the invite link for your meeting, and press “Go”.
Click the button to register your meeting.
Enter a name for your meeting, select your PowerPoint slide deck, and press “Submit”.
If prompted, enter your email address to log in. If you’re using Scribe for Meetings on behalf of an organization, make sure to use your email address provided by that organization. If your organization has integrated Scribe for Meetings with a single sign-on (SSO) system, then you’ll be taken to the normal login process for your organization, or possibly logged in automatically. Otherwise, we’ll send you an email with a link that you can use to log into Scribe for Meetings.
NOTE: Scribe for Meetings currently supports Zoom meetings and webinars. Sign up to our email list to receive a notification when we add features and additional meeting platforms.
Your content will be ready to launch within minutes. No knowledge of creating accessible presentations is required. As the host, you don’t need to run extra software on your device, and content can be uploaded as little as 5 minutes before the meeting.
For the print-impaired meeting attendee, navigate to https://www.ScribeForMeetings.com, paste in your Zoom invite link, and press “Go”. Alternatively, your meeting host might have given you a direct link to Scribe for Meetings, either in the invitation email or in the meeting itself via chat. Whichever way you get there, you’re now ready to follow along with the presentation in any web browser on any platform.
How difficult is it to install Scribe for Meetings?
Scribe for Meetings is not an installed application. It is a cloud service, so nothing more than a browser is needed to enjoy a meeting. For presenters, Other than uploading their content in advance of the meeting, the process was intentionally designed to be simple. There is nothing to install to your computer or device other than Zoom or similar meeting platforms.
Enterprise customers can host Scribe for Meetings on their own servers. Please get in touch with us for details.
I see an attendee named “Scribe for Meetings” trying to join my meeting. What’s going on?
That’s the Scribe bot. This bot watches the screen in your meeting, so it can see what slide is currently being displayed and provide the accessible version of that slide in real time to print-impaired attendees. The Scribe bot will not disrupt your meeting in any way, and it will not collect any information other than what content is currently being displayed through screen sharing. If your meeting has a waiting room, please promptly admit the Scribe bot into the meeting. Otherwise, Scribe for Meetings will not work.
I’m a print-impaired meeting attendee, and I don’t know if the meeting I’m attending has been registered through Scribe for Meetings. What can I do?
Go to ScribeForMeetings.com, paste in the Zoom invite link for your meeting, and press “Go”. If the meeting has been registered with Scribe for Meetings, then you’re ready to follow along with accessible slides. If not, you can sign up to be notified by email when the meeting has been registered with Scribe for Meetings.
I’m a print-impaired meeting attendee. Do you have any resources to help me ask the meeting host to use Scribe for Meetings?
Yes; check out our Scribe for Meetings Self-Advocacy Kit. Here you’ll find a variety of pre-written letters that you can personalize, then copy and paste into an email.
Can Scribe for Meetings convert a presentation to accessible file formats for offline viewing?
Yes. When creating the meeting, the presenter can optionally choose to provide their presentation for downloading in the following file formats:
- An accessible web page, with all of the same features as the live presentation, including read aloud
- Tagged PDF
- MP3, via text-to-speech in about a dozen languages
- DAISY, text plus audio
- Microsoft Word
- Braille: Grade 1, Grade 2, Unified English Braille, and many other languages
The PDF and Microsoft Word options support large print. This option, and other options such as speaking rate for audio output, can be chosen by attendees when they download the slides.
This feature is not enabled by default; the presenter must choose to allow it. To enable this feature when registering a meeting, check the checkbox called “Allow attendees to download accessible versions of slides.” This choice will only take effect for the meeting currently being registered.
For a meeting where this feature is enabled, as soon as the presenter has shown a slide, the web page where attendees view accessible slides will include a link called “Download Slides”. To download the slides, an attendee should follow these steps:
Click the “Download Slides” link.
If prompted, enter your email address and follow the instructions to log in.
Choose the accessible format you want.
For some formats, you can optionally customize settings, such as text-to-speech voice, speaking rate, braille translation table, or large print.
Click the “Prepare Download” button.
Watch your email for the download link. For most formats, the email will arrive within a few minutes. Conversion to audio can take much longer, depending on the length of the slide deck, because speech synthesis is a more time-consuming process than other conversions.
I host many meetings, and I want to allow my attendees to download the slides for all of these meetings. Can I turn this feature on by default?
Yes. Follow these steps:
Go to ScribeForMeetings.com.
If there’s a “Log In” link at the top of the page, click it, enter your email address, and follow the instructions to log into Scribe for Meetings.
Click “Settings”, then “Meeting Defaults”.
Check the checkbox called “Allow attendees to download accessible versions of slides”, then click “Save”.
I want to protect my slides from unauthorized copying and distribution. Does Scribe for Meetings support this?
Unfortunately, Scribe for Meetings cannot stop your attendees from copying the text of your slides. However, if you don’t allow the slides to be downloaded, it won’t be easy for attendees to copy your slides, because they will have to copy one slide at a time. Also, note that in practice, this is no different from what any attendee can already do by taking screenshots of your slides.
Is Scribe for Meetings multilingual?
Yes. Scribe for Meetings can render content in any of 140 languages, again with no extra effort from the presenter.
Do I need to slow down my presentation to make sure that print-impaired attendees can keep up?
No. Scribe for Meetings has a feature called Dynamic Visual Representation, or DVR mode for short, that allows print-impaired attendees to read your accessible slides at their own pace. An attendee can pause the live presentation, go back to a slide they’ve already read, move forward at their own pace, and then continue with the live presentation when they’re ready.
To use DVR mode, the attendee should press either the Suspend Presentation button or the Previous Slide button. These buttons are labeled as such for screen reader users, and for mouse users who hover over them. Visually, they’re at the bottom of the page and look like the Pause and Previous Track buttons in a media player. When the user presses one of these buttons, the live presentation will pause, and for the Previous Slide button, it will return to the previous slide. The user can then use the Previous Slide and Next Slide buttons to go through the slides at their own pace, and the Go Live button to return to the live presentation. These buttons look like the Previous Track, Next Track, and Play buttons in a media player.
Note that DVR mode only allows attendees to review slides that have been shown since they joined the presentation. If a print-impaired attendee is late for your presentation, then they missed the same slides that any other late attendee would have missed.
I have a print-impaired attendee who would benefit from having my content spoken aloud but isn’t comfortable with a full screen reader. Can Scribe for Meetings help?
Yes. Our Read Aloud feature will speak your slides using the voices provided by your user’s device and web browser, while drawing a box around each word as it is spoken to help the user follow along visually. For Windows users, we highly recommend the Microsoft Edge browser for this feature, because Edge offers outstanding voices in several languages, free of charge. However, this feature also works with all other major platforms and browsers, including mobile devices.
To start reading the current slide aloud, press the Read Aloud button, which is at the bottom of the screen and looks like a speaker. While Scribe for Meetings is reading the slide aloud, it will show controls to stop reading (the button with a square icon), pause or resume, go back or forward (the buttons that look like Previous Track and Next Track buttons in a media player), speed up and slow down reading, or change the voice. These controls will go away as soon as reading is finished or as soon as the user stops it.
Note that Read Aloud and DVR mode (see above) can be used together, to allow print-impaired attendees to read slides both in their own way and at their own pace.
I have a print-impaired attendee who needs my slides in a large font but doesn’t need a full-screen magnification program. Can Scribe for Meetings help?
Yes. Scribe for Meetings displays your slides in a way that makes them accessible for attendees with all types of content requirements. If large fonts are needed, an attendee can use their browser’s page zoom feature to adjust the font size of the slides, without requiring the user to continually scroll back and forth. Scribe for Meetings will also automatically display the text in the user’s preferred color scheme, whether it’s the usual dark-on-light, light-on-dark (also known as dark mode), or a custom scheme.
Wait! What’s going on here? Why do my slides look so different in Scribe for Meetings than they do in my presentation?
Every aspect of how Scribe for Meetings displays your slides is optimized for accessibility, for attendees with all types of print impairments. Since Scribe for Meetings is meant to be used alongside your existing meeting platform, attendees are always free to flip back to the main meeting window to see the slides as they’re displayed in your presentation without accessibility.
I don’t use PowerPoint. Can I still make my presentation accessible with Scribe for Meetings?
Scribe for Meetings can make your screen-shared slides accessible no matter what app you use to present them, as long as you can provide your slide deck in PowerPoint format. Other presentation apps such as Keynote and Google Slides can convert their slide decks to PowerPoint format, so you can use these with Scribe for Meetings.
Scribe for Meetings isn’t showing the accessible versions of my slides during the presentation, or it’s skipping some slides. What’s wrong?
Make sure that you’re presenting your slides in a full-screen slide show, and that you’ve set up Zoom screen sharing to share that slide show with your audience. If you’re using PowerPoint for Windows to run your presentation, then once you’ve opened PowerPoint, make sure you press F5 to enter slide show mode. Learn more about how to use Zoom screen sharing with PowerPoint.
How does Scribe for Meetings handle pictures and graphics in my slides?
If you already wrote descriptions (also known as alt tags or captions) for the graphical content in your slides, Scribe for Meetings will use those. Otherwise, Scribe for Meetings will use a cloud-based image description service powered by machine learning to automatically add alt tags for your graphics. If those pictures contain text, Scribe for Meetings will also use optical character recognition (OCR) to make that text accessible.
My slides have charts, diagrams, or other complex graphics. Can Scribe for Meetings handle them?
The short answer is, not for the most part. We’re still working on this. Because the Scribe Augmented Document Remediation platform is powered by machine learning, as we receive more documents and slide decks with complex graphics, we’ll be able to train our model to make those graphics accessible. But, for now, you’ll just have to try it and see.
Does Scribe for Meetings work with meeting platforms other than Zoom, like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Slack, Amazon Chime, or BlueJeans?
Not yet, but it will soon. Teams will be available in the next few months.
How do people within our organization log into Scribe for Meetings?
Scribe for Meetings currently supports two options for authentication. The simplest option is our email-based login process. Just enter your email address, and we’ll send a link that you can use to log in; no password is needed. For organizations with more stringent security requirements, we can also integrate with single sign-on (SSO) systems that implement the SAML standard, either via the InCommon federation or using bilateral metadata exchange. Our SAML service provider uses the open-source Shibboleth SP package and was implemented in partnership with Signet, Inc., an identity management and access control firm founded by an architect of Shibboleth. Note that we support SSO through a variety of identity providers; in addition to Shibboleth IdP, we’ve tested with Azure Active Directory. When your organization signs up with Scribe for Meetings, we’ll offer SSO onboarding, covered by the setup fee.
What is the future of Scribe for Meetings?
Scribe, the platform behind our Scribe line of products, is actively learning every time a document is processed. The machine learning powered Augmented Document Remediation technology gets smarter with each page, moving us that much closer to 100% accuracy. The benefits spill over into all our products, making Scribe for Meetings an application that will only get better the more you use it.