June 15, 2020,
508 Compliance: Navigating Video Accessibility Laws
According to Section 508, any company in the United States that works with a federal agency or receives federal funding has to provide accessible media to people. These include government agencies, public higher education institutions, and public K-12 schools. However, this also extends to any organization that has its own mini 508 or whose state has a mini 508.
508 compliance not only ensures your videos are accessible to individuals, but it also limits or eliminates the number of web accessibility lawsuits you receive.
Importance of accessibility
Making all your media files accessible is essential because:
• It allows people with disabilities to access your videos and learn from them.
• It makes your videos easy to understand, improving user experience, and growing your business.
Making your videos accessible
How you make your videos 508 compliant depends on the type of videos you develop. But, generally, your videos requires three elements to be termed accessible. These include:
1. Closed captioning
508 compliant videos require closed captions, which are time-synchronized texts a user can read while watching. They contain a CC icon, and they help students who can’t hear. However closed captions also allow a user to:
• See complex terms and names spelled out
• Understand the dialect of the instructor
• Understand instructors that speak quietly or in a low voice
• Watch videos in a noisy place
Successful captioning needs to be accurate, readable, and enable comprehension.
2. Audio description
This is the process of adding an audio track to your videos to narrate its visual elements. Audio descriptions accommodate low-vision and blind individuals, allowing them to understand your content.
To add an audio description on your media, upload a separate audio file to your video player. This allows your users to choose between the audio description track and the default audio track.
3. Accessible video player
It’s critical to use a 508 compliant video player to ensure your tools function correctly, including the screen reader and keyboard.
Other factors to consider
Your 508 compliant media file needs to have clear navigation. For example, you need to use commonly-known menu names such as top, back, and home to eliminate confusion. Additionally, it should allow enough time when a timed response is required. For instance, an online test should notify users when the time is almost up.
Ultimately, 508 compliance is a great way to empower your customer-base and workforce by making your videos available to everyone.