Multimedia is the integration of multiple forms of media which may include text, graphics, audio, video, and animated content. Supplementing information presented with multimedia through the use of captioning and transcripts can enhance the user experience for people with different learning styles and preferences. In order to be fully accessible to the widest possible audience, videos should be captioned and a transcript should be provided. See "Video Captions Benefit Everyone".
About 20 percent of Americans, approximately 48 million, report some degree of hearing loss. Sixty percent of the people with hearing loss, over 28 million, are either in the work force or in an educational setting (hearingloss.org). In this instance, captions, used in conjunction with transcripts, provide a text alternative to audio content and are essential in providing equivalent information. This allows the content to be accessible to those who do not have access to audio as well as those who may be hard of hearing or deaf.
To enable greater understanding of captioning and multimedia accessibility, please refer to the following:
- Understanding captioning requirements
- Captioning responsibilities
Did you know?
- In the United States, about 55 million people have a disability (src: 2010 U.S. Census).
- About 1 in 5 Americans have some kind of disability (src: 2010 U.S. Census).
- The percentage of people affected by disabilities is growing as our population ages.
- Two popular, free screen readers are VoiceOver (Mac OS and iOS) and NVDA (Win).
- Good accessibility practices can improve the search ranking of your website.
- Form fields without labels can cause problems for some assistive technology users.
- Low color contrast makes content difficult to see, especially for users with low vision.
- Documents linked on a website need to be accessible too (e.g., PDF and Word files).
- Audio content, like podcasts, need transcripts for deaf or hard of hearing users.
- Online videos should be captioned for deaf or hard of hearing users.
- Using HTML tags correctly is very important for accessibility.
- Descriptive link text helps make a website more accessible. Avoid using "Click here" or "Read more."
- A "screen reader" is an application that reads content aloud to a user.
- There is no "alt tag" in HTML. "Alt" is an attribute used with the img tag.
- HTML uses the alt attribute to provide a text description of an image.
- Alt text should describe an image, if the purpose of the image is to convey information.
- If an image is a link, the alt text for the image should explain where the link goes.
- If an image is only being used for decoration, the alt text should be null (i.e., alt="").
- If a table has headers, using header tags (<th>) will make the table more accessible.
- An accessible website is one that can be navigated and understood by everyone.