DEV 1.6 - Use multimedia with care

You must ensure that your use of multimedia does not exclude essential information from those who cannot see, hear or play it (e.g. Because they don't have the plugin).

Multimedia extensions (e.g. Quicktime, Windows Media, Flash etc.) often have their own ways of enhancing accessibility - these should be used wherever possible.

  • Provide a link to download players:
    • The latest version of all relevant multimedia players.
  • If embedding multimedia in a web page, provide a link to a stand alone version too:
    • For movies and sound files, it is more accessible to let people have access to the control and accessibility features that some media players provide.
  • Provide controls to skip, pause, or stop the presentation:
    • Explicitly if they are not present in the player.
  • Offer different download sizes to cater for all:
    • Include the file size on the page.
  • Provide transcripts (important):
    • On the same page (recommended);
    • A link to a transcript on another page.
  • Provide synchronized alternatives:
    • Audio descriptions of a visual presentation;
    • Closed captions (these are like subtitles that can be turned on and off).

Tip: Transcripts are a good idea, regardless of accessibility considerations, and should be provided at a minimum:

  • Many people may want an editable version of the multimedia content that they can save and manipulate.
  • Search engines will be able to index the content - without the transcript they wouldn't.

Tip: There are a number of tools to assist with generating synchronised captions and audio descriptions but it is often a specialised job

See more guidance on closed captions and audio descriptions,including tutorials on how to produce them, at the Webaim.Org website.

Closed captions can be turned on and off as required - can also include audio descriptions