Accessibility Requirements for Video
What Does My File Need to be Accessible?
Video, images, or slideshow content with no audio:
- Descriptive text
Video with audio:
- Synchronized captions
- Descriptive text
Transcribing your audio requires you to listen to the audio file and type a word-for-word text transcript for all spoken words. The text transcript is an important part of your accessible media. In addition to being an alternative for people who cannot access your video file (for any reason), it also provides a written alternative for viewers/listeners who prefer to read the text on their own time and at their own pace. The text transcript helps to index your audio/video file on search engines like Google and Bing.
The text transcript is the foundation for your synchronized captions. If you are producing video content, this is a critical item to complete before moving on to captioning.
If your video file was recorded from a written script, use this as a starting point for producing your text transcript. Listen to the audio while reading the script and make any post-production corrections. Speakers may not follow a script with 100% accuracy, and content may have been deleted or combined in new ways during the editing phase.
YouTube has an automated captioning service built into its online software. It is possible to use this to create your captions, but due to its high rate of failure and mistakes, you may not want to rely on this option. If you are publishing videos to YouTube and decide to try this, be sure to read and edit the captions before making them available to your viewing audience. You can also synchronize your captions with this service.
Descriptive text describes important visual cues in your video or slideshow. The depth of detail in this file depends on the content of your video. It can be very simple for lecture videos with no change of scene, or very involved for videos that are more demonstrative. Your audience for a descriptive text may be someone who is blind or visually impaired, and the text should make sense for both audiences. It also assists those with cognitive disabilities who have difficulty understanding what is visually taking place in the video or slideshow.
Resources on Accessibility
- PlainLanguage.gov —A guide to making copy clear and easy to understand.
- Introduction to Accessibility —An introduction to accessibility, and why it matters.
- Section 508 Standards —The Section 508 Standard for Electronic and Information Technology
- Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit Hackpad