Title saying "Past spotlights". Next to it, a circular, greyscale image depicting files in a filing cabinet..

The LCA Spotlights are posted in 3 places: the LinkedIn community, as part of the LCA Newsletter and here, on the LCA Spotlight website.

Here, you can also find all the past spotlights listen in reversed chronological order.


Spotlight 9: AAA guidelines related to multimedia (1.2.6-1.2.9)

In the previous two spotlights, we looked at the A and AA requirements related to making time-based media, such as audio and video content, accessible (WCAG 1.2.1-1.2.5).


In this spotlight, let’s review the remaining requirements (1.2.6, 1.2.7, 1.2.8 & 1.2.9) that are required for AAA conformance. These are somewhat more advanced requirements and therefore are harder to meet.


According to success criterion 1.2.6 (AAA), sign language interpretation should be provided for all pre-recorded audio in synchronized media.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing may use sign language as their first language and have limited reading ability which makes it harder to read and comprehend captions in synchronized media. For them, therefore, sign language is faster to interpret and is more descriptive in terms of intonation and emotion compared to captions. However, note that sign language differs in countries and not everyone with hearing impairment understands sign language.

To comply with the criterion, you could add sign language interpretation to the video that is presented to all users, or provide a link to a video that has sign language interpretation.


Success criterion 1.2.7 (AAA) talks about Extended audio descriptions and is an extension of 1.2.5 (AA) Standard audio description.

According to WCAG 1.2.5 (Level AA), pre-recorded videos that have sound should have an audio description. However, sometimes the content doesn't have long enough natural pauses for the audio narration to be added. In this case, to comply with AAA, you may need to pause the video to allow the extended audio description to be added. The video then can resume once the description ends.


Success criterion 1.2.8 (AAA) states that an alternative in text form (most commonly as a transcript) should be provided for any audio-visual content. This is important because people who may not be able to read captions and hear sound have access to the same information. The text transcript should include full descriptions of the audio and visuals including visual context, actions and expressions of actors, and any other key visual material. In addition, all spoken audio like laughter and off-screen dialogues, on-screen text should be included in the transcript.


Success criterion 1.2.9 (AAA) states that alternative text should be provided for information covered by live audio such as meetings, conferences, podcasts etc. This can be achieved through a real-time captioning service or a transcript if it’s a prepared script, for example, a pre-written script for a live press release.


We gathered some resources for you for this topic.


Get Involved: Come to the LCA Spotlight LinkedIn group and join the conversation.

  • What could be some barriers to providing sign language interpretation in our content and how can we overcome them?

  • What type of content might extended audio descriptions benefit from?

  • Does your authoring tool provide user-friendly features to add a full transcript to media alternatives?

  • Do you find captions or transcripts helpful during online meetings? How might the benefits of transcripts extend once the meetings have ended?


When you post in the community, use the hashtag #LCASpotlightAdvancedMultimedia

Spotlight 8: Transcripts and audio descriptions (1.2.1, 1.2.3 & 1.2.5)

In spotlights 7-9, we look at the 9 WCAG guidelines (1.2.1 - 1.2.9) relating to making time-based media, such as audio and video content, accessible. In the previous spotlight, we covered the A and AA requirements related to using captions (WCAG 1.2.2 & 1.2.4). This week, we bring the A and AA requirements related to using transcripts and audio descriptions (WCAG 1.2.1, 1.2.3 & 1.2.5). Next week, we’ll look at all the AAA requirements related to time-based media together (WCAG 1.2.6-1.2.9).


So, in this spotlight, let’s have a look at the A and AA requirements related to transcripts and audio descriptions.


According to WCAG 1.2.1 (level A), with pre-recorded audio-only content, such as podcasts, a transcript should be provided. With videos that have no sound, but have on-screen information or non-decorative visuals, either a transcript or an audio description track should be provided.


When it comes to providing audio description and/or a media alternative such as a transcript for videos with sound, there are different WCAG requirements depending on the conformance level.


The level A guideline (1.2.3) requires that for pre-recorded videos that have sound, either an audio description or a media alternative is provided. However, to conform at level AA (1.2.5), an audio description must be provided. That means that by providing an audio description, you conform at level AA, whereas if you only provide a transcript, you only conform at level A. Exceptions are videos where there are no visuals used to enhance the spoken content or where those visuals are explained in the narration.

In general, captions, audio descriptions, and transcripts are all similar because they provide an alternative output method for the content in the video. The main difference is that captions give sighted users information about the dialogues and the sounds in the video that they need to understand the content. On the other hand, audio descriptions give non-visual users information about the visuals, such as the setting and any action in the video. This typically involves an additional voiceover layer explaining the visuals in the pauses between the existing sound. Finally, transcripts are text versions of the two combined. Transcripts should include both the necessary auditory and visual information users need to understand the content without hearing or seeing it.


There are 3 main ways to provide audio descriptions with videos: using the video including the audio description as the default option for all users, providing a separate video or a link for the video that includes the audio description, or using a plug-in or the built-in audio description track option available in certain authoring tools. Note, however, that not all authoring or streaming tools have the last option.


For transcripts, there is no set requirement of how transcripts should be structured or provided; the main requirement is that they’re easy to find. Note though that if the video has any interaction such as taking the learner to a web page, then the transcript should also provide that functionality.

Finally, we’d like to mention that there are additional AAA guidelines that relate to transcripts and audio descriptions. We’ll cover these in the next spotlight.

We gathered some resources for you for this topic.

Get Involved: Come to the LCA Spotlight LinkedIn group and join the conversation.

  • What method do you use to provide audio descriptions to your videos in your learning content?

  • How do you structure your transcripts?

  • What features are available in your authoring tool to facilitate using transcripts and audio descriptions?


When you post in the community, use the hashtag #LCASpotlightTranscripts

Spotlight 7: Captions (WCAG 1.2.2 & 1.2.4)

In the next few spotlights, we’ll be looking at the 9 WCAG guidelines (1.2.1 - 1.2.9) relating to making time-based media, such as audio and video content, accessible. Note that these guidelines solely focus on making the content within the audio or video accessible and these don’t include standards relating to how audio and video content are to be used (eg 1.4.2).


Because this is an extensive topic with 9 guidelines, we’ve divided the topic into 3 spotlights:

  • The A and AA requirements related to using captions (WCAG 1.2.2 & 1.2.4) - It’s the topic of this spotlight.

  • The A and AA requirements related to using audio descriptions and transcripts (WCAG 1.2.1, 1.2.3 & 1.2.5) - It’s the topic of spotlight 8.

  • The AAA requirements related to time-based media (WCAG 1.2.6-1.2.9) - We’ll cover these in spotlight 9.


So, in this spotlight, let’s have a look at the A and AA requirements related to captions.


Providing captions is an A (basic) requirement for pre-recorded videos that have sound (1.2.2) and it’s an AA (intermediate) requirement for live content such as a webinar (1.2.4).


Captions are similar to subtitles in that they should include dialogue that is synchronized to the spoken words and any action happening in the video. However, the difference is that, unlike subtitles, captions also need to include any information necessary to fully understand the video without any sound. For that reason, it should also indicate who is speaking and include any non-speech information like change in voice or background sounds.


To comply, either open or closed captions can be used. The difference is that open captioning burns the captions into the video and therefore there’s no way to make them disappear whereas closed captions (cc) can be turned off. In general, it’s best to use closed captioning because it gives flexibility to the viewer to switch the captioning off if they find it distracting. If, however, the video platform doesn’t allow caption files to be edited or added, it’s best to use open captioning than no captions..


There are two ways to add subtitles to video content: manually and automatically. Manually works great if you have a copy of the script used in the video that you could copy and paste in. This might not always be the case though, so automatic subtitling can help generate the script quickly. Note, that I used the word “subtitles” and not “captions”. That is because in most cases, scripts and auto-generated “captions” only capture the speech and you should still add any additional notes, such as speakers and non-speech information. In addition, if you use automatic captioning, make sure to check the accuracy of the content and fix any mistakes as they often include misheard words and irregular punctuation.

Note that while it’s best practice to use captioning whenever possible, video content that is used in addition to text and two-way conferencing are exempt from these guidelines. Also note that there are some additional AAA guidelines that also recommend providing captions or an alternative for live audio-only content such as podcasts and providing sign-language interpretations for pre-recorded video content. But we’ll cover these in spotlight 9.


We gathered some resources for you for this topic.

  • Meryl Evans provides a lot of content about captions. Follow this link to check out her 10 rules of good captioning accompanied with short example videos: 10 rules of good captioning

  • For more content from Meryl, check out the 6 most common captioning mistakes with examples: Common caption mistakes

  • This article lists 10 free transcribing and video captioning tools: 10 free transcribing and captioning tools

  • If you’re using YouTube, follow this link to find out more about the captioning options and processes: Captioning in YouTube

  • If you’re creating captions in Storyline, this page explains the process: Captioning in Storyline 360

  • If you’re using Camtasia, follow this link to learn about how to add captions manually and automatically (Note that automatic captioning is only available in the Windows version): Captioning in Camtasia

  • If you’re using Zoom for live workshops etc., this article details how you can enable automatic captioning: Captioning in Zoom

  • If you’re using Google Meet for live workshops etc., this article details how you can enable automatic captioning (Note that captions are not captured in recordings): Captioning in Google Meet

  • If you need to create subtitle files to manually add to videos, this article explains the different subtitle file formats: Overview of subtitle formats


Get Involved: Come to the LCA Spotlight LinkedIn group and join the conversation.

  • What’s your preferred method of creating captions, creating them manually, or using a transcribing or automatic captioning tool?

  • What’s your preferred tool for adding and editing captions and creating live captions?

  • What limitations should we consider when adding captions either to prerecorded or live video content

  • What features are available in your authoring tool to facilitate using captions?


When you post in the community, use the hashtag #LCASpotlightCaptions

Spotlight 6: Meaningful sequence and focus order (WCAG 1.3.2 & 2.4.3)

This week, the highlight is meaningful sequence and focus order.


WCAG 1.3.2 (Meaningful sequence - level A) and 2.4.3 (Focus order - level A) both relate to logical order in any content. They're similar and aim to ensure that assistive technologies don't access content in a confusing way. The difference is mainly that 1.3.2 applies to all content and is essential for screen readers so that it reads out the content in a logical and meaningful way. Whereas 2.4.3 refers to interactive items and are also important for keyboard users who don’t use screen readers to activate interactive items such as links, video players or search bars.

We gathered some resources for you for this topic.


Then why not try the screen reader you used in the last spotlight (Spotlight 5: Screen readers) and navigate through a website and see how they apply the meaningful sequence guideline? You can also just test out the focus order without a screen reader and use the tab button to jump around the interactive items and activate them with the space bar.


Get Involved: Come to the LCA Spotlight LinkedIn group and join the conversation.

  • How was your experience navigating through the interactive items on the website with only your keyboard?

  • How do you set the focus order in your authoring tool?

  • How do you verify the right focus order in your content?

When you post in the community, use the hashtag #LCASpotlightOrder

Spotlight 5: Screen readers

This week, the highlight is on screen readers. This assistive technology converts on-screen text into spoken words or braille and also allows users to navigate the content.

We gathered some resources for you for this topic.

The best way to understand how screen readers work is to watch it in action.

Have you never used a screen reader before? This week is your chance to try one!

  • If you're a Windows user, try NVDA. The following link includes instructions about how to use NVDA as well as the link to access it: Using NVDA to Evaluate Web Accessibility (Note that NVDA works best with Chrome and Firefox.)


It’s generally advised that you test your learning content with a screen reader, and even better if you could test with someone with a lived experience of a disability who is an expert at using the software. According to Susi Miller, having an experienced tester could help avoid what she calls ”'screen reader rabbit holes” where the screen reader flags up issues caused by for example incompatibility with certain browsers but in fact, would not affect the learning experience.

Get Involved: Come to the LCA Spotlight LinkedIn group and join the conversation.

  • How was your experience using a screen reader for the first time?

  • Besides people with visual impairment, in which other contexts/situations can people benefit from using a screen reader?

  • What do you take into account in developing your content to be screen reader-friendly? What would you like to improve?


When you post in the community, use the hashtag #LCASpotlightScreenReader

Spotlight 4: Time limits (WCAG 2.2.1)

This week we'll look at the WCAG guideline concerning time limits.


According to WCAG 2.2.1 - Timing adjustable (Level A), learners shouldn’t be given a time limit unless they can extend it or turn it off.


We’ve gathered some resources for you.


Get Involved: Come to the LCA Spotlight LinkedIn group and join the conversation.

  • How do you handle conversations with stakeholders who insist on having time limits for quizzes or learners who like the competitive element of time restraints?

  • According to the WCAG guideline, time limits are acceptable if the learner can turn it off or adjust it. How does your authoring tool allow you to do that?

  • Have you seen examples of eLearning courses that used timed activities and complied with this guideline?


When you post in the community, use the hashtag #LCASpotlightTiming

Spotlight 3: Alt text (WCAG 1.1.1)

This week the spotlight is on alt tags.


According to WCAG 1.1.1 - Non-text content (Level A) non-text contents such as images, infographics, or diagrams and functional items such as custom buttons and logos should have alternative text added to them so that screenreaders can recognise them and read them out.

We’ve gathered some resources for you.

Get Involved: Come to the LCA Spotlight LinkedIn group and join the conversation.

  • How do you add or hide alt text in your authoring tool?

  • What is your method to test that all applicable non-text content has alternative text?

  • What are your best practices for writing alternative text for complex images like charts, graphs, screen captures and diagrams?

  • How do you decide which images are decorative and don’t need alternative text?


When you post in the community, use the hashtag #LCASpotlightAltText

Spotlight 2: Assistive technology

This week, the highlight is on assistive technologies.

We gathered some resources for you for this topic.

If you're already familiar with the topic or when you're finished, come to the LCA Spotlight LinkedIn group and join the conversation.

  • Have you worked with someone who uses assistive technology?

  • Which assistive technologies is the content you create compatible with?

  • How would you raise awareness about assistive technology users with stakeholders?

When you post in the community, use the hashtag #LCASpotlightTechnology

Spotlight 1: Overview of the WCAG guidelines

For the first spotlight, we thought we'd start with an overview of the WCAG guidelines.


We gathered some resources for you for this topic.


If you're already familiar with the topic, or when you're finished, come to the LCA Spotlight LinkedIn group and join the conversation.

  • Which WCAG guideline are you the most comfortable with?

  • Which guideline do you find the most difficult to get right?

  • Which WCAG guidelines does your authoring tool not support?


When you post in the community, use the hashtag #LCASpotlightWCAG