Web accessibility made simple: WCAG 2.0 AA explained, part 2

The second instalment in our series of articles by guest author, Rachel Desjourdy, McGill's Accessibility Advisor, looks at accessibility of time based media content.

Guidelines 1.2: Time based media

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.

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.


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