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.