Tips for Making Web Video & Audio Accessible

July 13, 2015 BY EMILY GRIFFIN
Updated: June 3, 2019

How do you tackle making your web content accessible to everyone? What about media-rich content, like videos and audio recordings?

Janet Sylvia, leader of the University of Georgia’s Web Accessibility Group, helps answer those questions in our webinar, 10 Tips for Creating Accessible Web Content with WCAG 2.0. The following augmented excerpt from her presentation focuses on how to make your web video and audio content WCAG compliant.

Read highlights from the Q&A, or watch the full recording here.

Accessible Audio Files

If you use audio only, like a podcast or audio lecture, we must provide a text transcript of the spoken word. And that text transcript should be a document that’s accessible, preferably HTML, but it can be an accessible document of another format, such as .TXT.

Accessible Video Files

If you provide video without audio, you need to provide a video description. This is a text description of the key visual elements that are required to comprehend what’s taking place in the video. The text can be read aloud by a screenreader. Alternatively, you could provide an audio recording of the video description to be played by a user with low or no vision.

If your video has audio, you must provide synchronized closed captions, the text transcript, and the video descriptions.

Check the chart below for easy reference:


Accessibility Documents Needed for Audio & Video Files



Video with Audio

Text Transcript



Video Description



Closed Captions



Don’t Auto-Play Video

We must provide an option to turn off all multimedia on a website or in an online course. This means that the Pause and Stop buttons must be keyboard accessible, and the controls need to be screen reader accessible.

Imagine a blind user navigating your page and getting bombarded with an auto-playing video that they can’t stop. That’s a UX nightmare!

Accessible Media Player

Not all media players are accessible. In general, Flash is considered outdated in terms of web accessibility. HTML5 handles keyboard controls, labels, and accessible design features much better.

In higher education, it’s very common to put content on YouTube. YouTube’s default media player is now HTML5, which makes it a much more accessible choice for web video.

Read more about video player accessibility on YouTube, JW Player, and Video.js.

Watch the video or read the transcript of the full webinar on WCAG design.

3play media logo in blue

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