Multimedia Accessibility RequirementsIt’s the law!
CCBC is legally required to caption or transcribe all video content. There are many other reasons why captioning videos is a smart move: increasing accessibility, opening content to second-language audiences, improving search engine optimization (SEO) and ranking, and increasing conversions (applications, registrations and donations).
If you use an audio-only, video-only or multimedia file, you must also provide additional information so that individuals with disabilities have comparable access to the verbal and nonverbal communications.
- Audio-only - An accurate and complete transcript is required. A transcript is a text version of exactly what is being said in the audio-only file.
- Video-only - An accurate and complete text description is required. A description is a text version of what is being shown in a video-only file.
- Multimedia (audio and video) - Accurate and complete synchronized captions (or transcripts) and audio descriptions are required. Captions are a time-synchronized text version of exactly what is being said and/or a description of the relevant sounds in the multimedia file. A transcript is a text version of exactly what is being said in the audio-only file. Audio descriptions are time-synchronized descriptions of what is being shown in the multimedia file.
There are two types of captioning: open captioning and closed captioning.
- Open captions - Words that appear automatically on your video when you hit play; you cannot turn them off.
- Closed captions - These words don’t appear unless you turn them on. You can also turn them off.
If you re-edit the video content, you may have to re-edit the captions, transcripts and/or audio descriptions.
- Text Alternatives — Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols or simpler language. All non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose, except for the situations listed below.
- Time-based Media — Provide alternatives for time-based media. For prerecorded audio-only and prerecorded video-only media, the following are true, except when the audio or video is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as:
- Prerecorded Audio-only: An alternative for time-based media is provided that presents equivalent information for prerecorded audio-only content.
- Prerecorded Video-only: Either an alternative for time-based media or an audio track is provided that presents equivalent information for prerecorded video-only content. Captions are provided for all prerecorded audio content in synchronized media, except when the media is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such. An alternative for time-based media or audio description of the prerecorded video content is provided for synchronized media, except when the media is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such.
- Adaptable Content — Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure. Instructions provided for understanding and operating content do not rely solely on sensory characteristics of components such as shape, color, size, visual location, orientation, or sound.
- Distinguishable Content — Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background. If any audio on a Web page plays automatically for more than 3 seconds, either a mechanism is available to pause or stop the audio, or a mechanism is available to control audio volume independently from the overall system volume level.
- Keyboard Accessible — Make all functionality available from a keyboard. All functionality of the content is operable through a keyboard interface without requiring specific timings for individual keystrokes, except where the underlying function requires input that depends on the path of the user's movement and not just the endpoints. If keyboard focus can be moved to a component of the page using a keyboard interface, then focus can be moved away from that component using only a keyboard interface, and, if it requires more than unmodified arrow or tab keys or other standard exit methods, the user is advised of the method for moving focus away.
- Enough Time — Provide users enough time to read and use content. For moving, blinking, scrolling, or auto-updating information, all of the following are true:
- Moving, blinking, scrolling: For any moving, blinking or scrolling information that (1) starts automatically, (2) lasts more than five seconds, and (3) is presented in parallel with other content, there is a mechanism for the user to pause, stop, or hide it unless the movement, blinking, or scrolling is part of an activity where it is essential; and
- Auto-updating: For any auto-updating information that (1) starts automatically and (2) is presented in parallel with other content, there is a mechanism for the user to pause, stop, or hide it or to control the frequency of the update unless the auto-updating is part of an activity where it is essential.
- Seizures and Physical Reactions — Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures or physical reactions. Videos must not contain content that flashes more than three times in any one second period, or the flash is below the general flash and red flash thresholds.
- Compatible — Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies. For all user interface components (including but not limited to: form elements, links and components generated by scripts), the name and role can be programmatically determined; states, properties, and values that can be set by the user can be programmatically set; and notification of changes to these items is available to user agents, including assistive technologies.
- Create high-quality audio — Use high-quality microphones and recording software. When feasible, record in a room that is isolated from all external sounds. Avoid rooms with hard surfaces, such as tile or wood floors.
- Use low background audio — When the main audio is a person speaking and you have background music, set the levels so people with hearing or cognitive disabilities can easily distinguish the speaking from the background. Specifically, make the background sounds at least 20 decibels lower than the foreground speech content (with the exception of occasional sounds that last for only one or two seconds). Avoid sounds that can be distracting or irritating, such as some high pitches and repeating patterns.
- Speak clearly and slowly — Speak clearly. Speak as slowly as appropriate. This will enable listeners to understand better, and make the timing better for captions and sign language.
- Give people time to process information — Pause between topics. Use clear language – Avoid or explain jargon, acronyms, and idioms. For example, expressions such as “raising the bar” can be interpreted literally by some people with cognitive disabilities and can be confusing.
- Use flashy special effects sparingly - Avoid causing seizures by not integrating anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period.
- Consider speaker visibility — Some people use mouth movement to understand spoken language. When feasible, ensure that the speaker’s face is visible and in good light.
- Make overlay text readable — For any text, consider the font family, size, and contrast between the text and background.
Video Compliance Phases
- Beginning July 1, 2020 all new video links, embeds or renderings must adhere to level A standards of WCAG 2.1.
- Previously integrated videos must be addressed by July 1, 2022.
Learn accessibility best practices and compliance standards
- Why and how to make accessible videos?
- How to caption videos?
- How to make audio descriptions?
- How to create accessible social media content?