Provide alternatives for time based media
What does this mean?
Examples of time based media include media that is audio only (e.g. a podcast), video only (e.g. a recipe tutorial on Pinterest), audio-video (e.g. a video welcoming prospective students to campus) or audio/video combined with an interaction (e.g. telephone messages when you call your bank, that require you to use the keypad and select options). Time based media can be playing out in real-time (e.g. a LIVE broadcast), or something that was pre-recorded and made available asynchronously (e.g. a YouTube video). The criteria for compliance with these guidelines varies based on the type of media (audio or video), and the timing (live or pre-recorded).
What to do?
- For audio-only content that is pre-recorded: provide an alternative (e.g. a transcript)
- For video-only content that is pre-recorded: provide an alternative (e.g. audio track describing the video, or a text description describing what happens in the video)
- Caption all pre-recorded content with audio
- For videos with audio (e.g. your favorite Netflix show): provide an audio-description option (e.g. Audio describing the actions taken on screen between dialogue) or provide an alternative (e.g. a text that reads like a screenplay, that describes both actions and dialogue).
- Caption all live audio content
These points capture the A and AA guidelines set out in WCAG 2.0. There are also AAA guidelines that provide ideas on how you can continue your accessibility journey.
Accessibility Advisor’s suggested resources
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of integrating these practices into your work – don't! Lucky for us, the implementation of these points is more about changing your habits, and knowing what tools to use, rather than a huge overhaul of your practices.
- Captioning videos: Microsoft Stream has a captioning feature, as does YouTube. If you are creating or uploading a video to social media, a quick Google search of the platform and “video captioning” (e.g. Instagram video captioning) should give you specific instructions for your platform.
- Transcribing audio: Microsoft has published a tutorial explaining the different ways you transcribe audio in Office 365.
- Pro tip: always review automated transcripts for accuracy, and to insert the appropriate punctuation. Technology does not replace the need for human review!
- Audio-description: Creating a described audio file takes a bit more research on your end to figure out the best way to do it. W3C Web Accessibility Initiatives provides a helpful guide to what considerations to make when creating audio-described video files.
Rachel Desjourdy is the Accessibility Advisor in the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). She is available to support the McGill community in becoming more inclusive and accessible, and welcomes questions and feedback at rachel.desjourdy [at] mcgill.ca.