The importance of accessible video
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute designed to ensure equal access to opportunities and benefits for qualified individuals with disabilities. In many state, government and education institutions, videos must include ADA compliant captions. Nationwide uses WCAG 2.1 AA as a conformance guideline. According to this guideline, we need to provide closed captions to videos. Transcript can be used as a minimum alternative if closed caption file is not available. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional guidelines/assistance or click here to check out additional resources.
In order to be fully accessible to the maximum number of users, web multimedia should include both synchronized captions and a descriptive transcript.
Descriptive transcripts for videos:
- are needed for most videos to be accessible to people who are "Deaf-blind"
- meet a wide range of accessibility needs, including for people who have difficulty processing auditory information and people who cannot focus and comprehend auditory or visual information when there is changing visuals
- are used by people without disabilities, and benefit your organization
- are easy and inexpensive to develop using captions and description that you already have to meet Level AA
Captions and transcripts use the same text. Once you have one, it’s fairly easy to develop the other.Read more about descriptive transcript
ADA compliant caption tips
Apply these caption tips to make your captions ADA compliant:
- Include no more than 32 characters per line
- One to three lines of text appear onscreen, display for three to seven seconds, and then are replaced by the next caption
- Captions are available throughout the entire video, even when there is no one speaking
- Time captions to synchronize with the audio
- Require the use of upper and lowercase letters
- Use a simple font (easy to read)
- Captions should be accessible and readily available to those who need or want them
- Captions should appear onscreen long enough to be read
- Speakers should be identified when more than one person is onscreen or when the speaker is not visible
- Spelling is correct
- Words should be verbatim when time allows or as close as possible in other situations
- All words are captioned, regardless of language or dialect
- Punctuation is used to clarify meaning
- Add music or other descriptions inside brackets such as [music] or [laughter]
- Indicate when no narration is present and describe any relevant sound effects
- Use of slang and accent is preserved and identified
According to WCAG 2.1 Guideline 1.2 , alternatives must be provided for time based media. For example, prerecorded videos must have closed captions or transcript available for their users.
Example of video with captions
1.2.1 Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded) - According to WCAG 2.1
For pre-recorded 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 such: (Level A)
- Pre-recorded audio-only: An alternative for time-based media is provided that presents equivalent information for prerecorded audio-only content.
- Pre-recorded video-only Either an alternative for time-based media or an audio track is provided that presents equivalent information for prerecorded video-only content.
More information on 1.2.1How to meet 1.2.1
1.2.2 Captions (Pre-recorded) - According to WCAG 2.1
Captions are provided for all pre-recorded audio content in synchronized media, except when the media is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such. (Level A)
More information on 1.2.2How to meet 1.2.2
1.2.3 Audio description or media alternative (Pre-recorded) - According to WCAG 2.1
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. (Level A)
More information on 1.2.3How to meet 1.2.3
1.2.4 Captions (Live) - According to WCAG 2.1
Captions are provided for all live audio content in synchronized media. (Level AA)
More information on 1.2.4How to meet 1.2.4
1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded) - According to WCAG 2.1
Audio description is provided for all prerecorded video content in synchronized media. (Level AA)
More information on 1.2.5How to meet 1.2.5