In today’s rapidly evolving digital world, it is imperative to prioritize the inclusivity and accessibility of online content for individuals with disabilities. This involves more than just offering text-based information; it also requires making sure that audio and video materials are readily available to all users.

There is both a moral obligation to make content inclusive for all individuals, as well as a legal requirement outlined in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The WCAG sets the standards for what digital content must adhere to in order to be considered accessible. Despite this being a mandatory requirement, many organizations may not be fully informed about the specifics of the WCAG guidelines.

 

 

Accessible video

Which videos and audio are required to be accessible?

This requirement pertains to all audio and video files that are uploaded to a website or app starting from September 23, 2020. The only exception is for live broadcasted audio and video content, which do not need to meet accessibility standards. However, if a segment of live broadcasted audio or video is later posted online or made available again after the live broadcast, then it must adhere to the accessibility requirements.

What are the necessary criteria for an online video to be considered accessible?

In order to ensure that a video is accessible, it should meet four key guidelines: providing subtitles and transcripts, including audio descriptions, maintaining appropriate contrast and color usage, enabling keyboard navigation, and offering text alternatives.

1. Subtitles and Transcripts

To make your videos more accessible, it is essential to include accurate subtitles instead of relying solely on automatic captions. It is crucial to incorporate ambient sounds in the subtitles to ensure that viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as those not fluent in the video’s language, can fully comprehend the content.

Furthermore, adding a detailed transcript alongside the video is equally important. Some individuals may prefer reading text rather than listening to audio, so having a transcript available caters to their needs

2. Audio Description

For individuals with visual impairments, providing audio descriptions is paramount. Audio description involves verbally narrating the visual elements, actions, and movements in the video to help those who cannot see the content understand what is happening visually.

3. Contrast and Colour Usage

Maintaining adequate contrast levels between text and background, as well as different elements within the video, is essential for viewers with visual impairments. Avoid relying solely on colors to convey information, as colorblind individuals or those with difficulty differentiating colors may struggle to interpret the content accurately.

4. Keyboard Navigation and Text Alternative

It is important to ensure that your videos are navigable using keyboard shortcuts for users who may have difficulty operating a mouse. All interactive components within the video should be accessible via keyboard controls.

Additionally, all audio and video content should include a short text alternative called aria labels. Aria labels provide a brief description for visitors using assistive technology, allowing them to understand the content even if the audio or video itself is inaccessible to them.

An Accessible Video Player

To ensure that your videos are accessible to all viewers, it’s essential to use a video player that offers features like subtitles, audio descriptions, transcripts, and even sign language options. The player should also take into account subtitle contrast, compatibility with reading software, ability to resize text, and provide text alternatives through aria labels. Additionally, it’s crucial to maintain the privacy of your organization and content in accordance with legal guidelines. Not all video players may meet these requirements, so choose one carefully.

Testing and Feedback

After implementing these accessibility features, it’s important to test your videos to ensure they are indeed accessible. Seek feedback from individuals with various disabilities to pinpoint any remaining issues and make necessary adjustments. This proactive approach will guarantee that your content is always available to everyone.

Following these steps will not only make your videos accessible to a wider audience but also create a more inclusive digital experience for all your viewers.

Conclusion

Creating accessible videos is not just a matter of compliance, but a meaningful commitment to inclusivity. By embracing these strategies, you can empower all viewers to fully participate in the digital landscape and unlock the transformative power of video content. WCAG compliance ensures every individual, regardless of their abilities, has the opportunity to engage, learn, and be entertained by the rich tapestry of videos.