If you follow our blog, you know that web accessibility is critical for organizations of all sizes. People with diversabilities (diverse abilities) of all kinds need to be able to easily navigate your website in order to find the information that they are searching for.
One area that may require a little more work to make accessible is audio and visual media. Whenever you add video, pictures, infographics, or soundbites to your website, you need to consider how people consume it. Below are a few different tips for making the media on your site more accessible.
Going into a video shoot or other media recording with a plan for how to make your content accessible makes everything easier. For video, you can ensure that you have a script that can be easily integrated for captions or screen readers.
Accessibility should always be a part of the production process, not an afterthought. Incorporating accessibility into your plan makes the content feel more authentic and generally easier to understand for people with diversabilities.
In order to create audio that meets accessibility standards, you need to ensure that it is high quality and easy to understand. In order to do this, you will need good recording equipment. You should use a real microphone and not a phone or computer microphone. The quality of audio for these devices is too low and may result in poor recordings.
You should also make sure to record in a room with good acoustics to avoid echo and ensure that the microphone picks audio up well. Quality audio will make it easier for Deaf individuals and those who are hard of hearing to more easily understand what the speaker is saying.
Additionally, whoever is speaking should speak slowly and clearly. When possible, avoid using any background noise at all, including music. However, if you do choose to use music, keep it quiet to make it easy to hear the speaker.
Finally, make the script easy to understand for the audience. The language should be simple and appropriate for the audience that you are speaking to. Be sure to include the transcript for anyone who needs it, as well.
Any video content needs to follow the rules of audio as well as video.
For video, prevent any flashing on the screen, as this can cause seizures for some individuals. If you are going to include flashing of any kind, be sure to put a seizure warning on the video as well as on your page.
The speaker on the video should be easy to see, preferably against a simple backdrop without too many distractions. The more clearly the speaker enunciates, the better chance someone who prefers to read lips will have of understanding what the speaker is saying.
Including visual information along with captions can be helpful as well. Wherever available, try including charts, bullet points, maps, etc. Just make sure that any font contrasts with the background so they are easy to see on a variety of screens.
Captions are also incredibly helpful for people with hearing impairments. Add captions in a spot where they will not distract from the video but are easily visible.
Making the Media on Your Site Accessible for Section 508 Compliance
Following accessibility law helps individuals with diversabilities get the information they need. It also enables you to prevent lawsuits for breaking with the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. If you need help creating an accessible website or making your existing website accessible, we can help.
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