Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Web Accessibility Wednesday: Captions & Transcripts

This is part of a continuing series of web accessibility tips for IT personnel, web managers and web development groups. These tips can be used to review current website accessibility and to utilize in developing new websites with the hope of improving web accessibility for everyone.

In order for multimedia content to be perceivable to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing, captions and transcripts must be provided. Captions provide a synchronized text presentation of the audio content. Beyond providing basic accessibility to users with auditory disabilities, captions are also useful to other users in noisy or very quiet locations, increase accessibility to those with cognitive or learning disabilities, and provide enhanced comprehension of complex content. They are also helpful when the audio is unclear or in a language that is not well known.
Transcripts provide a static text version of the spoken dialog. Transcripts allow the information to be searchable (by both users and search engines), remove the time-based nature of the content (they can read the transcript at their own pace), and allow the content to be accessible to screen readers and refreshable Braille devices.
Captions and transcripts should be provided for video content and transcripts alone should be provided for audio content (e.g., podcasts).

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