Media accessibility refers to audiovisual media content that can be used, read, or viewed by everyone. With a diverse amount of individuals on the web, you want ensure that your content is accessible to all. This guideline goes over how to include media that is accessible, as well as gives insights on how, when, and why you would want to include all types of media.

Who is impacted?

Users who are deaf, blind, visually impaired, hearing impaired, or have a physical disability are the ones who are primarily impacted by the lack of media accessibility.

How to test?

Play back media content and test the captions, audio descriptions, and transcripts to ensure that they align with the content that is being shared to the user.

Audio and Video


For both audio and video media content, there must be an alternative that presents equivalent information to either form of content. The intent of meeting this is to allow all types of content to be available for all users.





Captions are synchronized visual or text alternative for speed and non speech audio. Similar to subtitles, except that captions also include non-dialogue audio such as music and sound effects.

Captions should be provided for all audio content. This enables those with hearing disabilities to be able to understand and watch media content without issue. Such captions should not obstruct any relevant information in the media content being observed.

One key item to note is the difference between captions and subtitles. While they are both used for the same thing they have one key difference. Captions are used for the same language as spoken audio, while subtitles are spoken audio translated into another language.

For pre-recorded content, captions should be able to be toggled on and off, however, for live content captions should always be provided.



Audio Description


Audio description (also called video description or descriptive narration) is a narration added to a soundtrack to describe important visual details that would not be able to be understood from the original soundtrack. It provides information about actions, characters, scene changes, on-screen text, or other visual content during pauses in existing dialogue.

Audio description should be provided for all media. They should provide those with visual disabilities access to information about the content presented to them.

Another method of providing audio description would be to provide all information from the media in text form. This would read similar to a script or a book. Unlike audio description, this form is not constrained to just pauses in the existing dialogue.



Media Alternative


Media alternative is media that presents no more information than is already presented in text. Media alternatives for text could be audio-only, video-only, or audio-video.

Media alternatives are provided for individuals whose vision is too poor to rely on captions, and whose hearing is too poor to rely on dialogue or audio description. This approach is usually achieved by providing all information in the presented media in text form.

Full descriptions are provided of all visual information. This includes visual context, actions, expressions, and other visual material. Non-speech sounds are described for the user, and transcripts of any dialogue are also included.



Sign Language


A lot of people with hearing disabilities are fluent in sign language. Providing sign language allows for richer access to media as it can provide the ability to provide intonation, emotion, and other audio information that is not seen in captions.



Live Audio


A live text caption service will enable live audio to be accessible to those with hearing disabilities. This is usually completed by a trained operator who listens in to what is being said, and enters text with only a small delay.

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