4. Manual Testing Strategies

Media Review

Another element of web content that is typically examined manually is multimedia. There are three potential accommodations that can be found with various media: captions, audio description, and transcripts (and combinations of these, depending on the media).

Video

All video with meaningful spoken dialogue must include captions that reproduce the verbal elements of the video. Depending on the jurisdiction you are in, video may also require audio description (referred to as described video for television) – an audio track added to the video that describes the action or context of the video that one would not be able to determine by listening. The third element is an optional transcript, made available as a separate file that can be downloaded or reviewed online on its own.

Key Point: In Ontario, audio description is only required from government organizations as of 2020, despite being a Level A requirement in WCAG 2.0. For other organizations in Ontario it is not required. Audio description, however, can be an important accommodation for people who are blind, so smaller organizations should still attempt to provide audio description when needed.

Adding captions to a video is a fairly straightforward process, with the right tools. Services like YouTube provide built-in tools that allow video producers to add captions directly through the YouTube video manager. Many video production programs also include tools for creating captions. The Amara caption editor, which will also caption YouTube videos, can be used to caption videos from other sources on the Web. It generates a caption file that can be imported into video editors or players, to quickly add captions. It is also relatively straightforward to convert the caption file into a transcript, by removing the time codes from the caption file.

Toolkit: Add the Amara Caption Editor to your Toolkit, familiarize yourself with how it works, and provide the link to it in your audit reports where missing captions have been identified.

One word of caution regarding services that provide automated captions: these captions do not satisfy the success criterion associated with Guideline 1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded) Level A. They may be a helpful strategy to consider in cases when a video must be posted in a hurry; however, in many cases these automated captions have a very high error rate, and provide little accommodation for those who require them. Only human-generated captions are acceptable to meet the requirements of this guideline. One of the most useful aspects of automated captions is that they are a good starting point for human-generated captions. They can be exported from YouTube into Amara where they can be refined, then exported back to YouTube. However, the more errors automated captions have in them, the less useful they become as a starting point for human-generated captions. With an error rate of about 35% or worse, you are better off captioning from scratch.

Key Point: Automated captioning output is not considered an acceptable text alternative for audio. Captions must be created by a human being.

For more on how to use the YouTube and Amara caption editors, view the videos below.

Video: How to Add Closed Caption Subtitles on YouTube 2015

© Noah’s World!!!. Released under the terms of a Standard YouTube License. All rights reserved.

Video: Captioning with Amara Caption Editor

© Amara Subtitles. Released under the terms of a Standard YouTube License. All rights reserved.

Audio

Examining the accessibility of audio content is straightforward. When audio with meaningful spoken information is presented, a transcript must be provided.

It is also possible in some cases to caption an audio track if it is being presented in a player that supports captioned audio. Provide captioned audio where possible, but also be sure to include a transcript.

captions being displayed in a player over a black background

Figure: Example of captioned audio

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Professional Web Accessibility Auditing Made Easy by Digital Education Strategies, The Chang School is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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