Closed Captioning for Web Videos

No Comments » Written on June 23rd, 2010 by
Categories: accessibility, Video

Apparently the issue of web site accessibility and multimedia content on web pages has gotten a lot of attention lately. There is currently a bill before Congress that would make closed captioning mandatory for any web video that also appears on TV.

Right now, if this bill became law, it would only affect the major players of web-based video. But, it could eventually filter down to smaller operations as well. Some web sites like YouTube use voice recognition software to produce closed captioning, but it is still very inaccurate. To manually transcribe one hour of video costs approximately $90 (this works out to about $1.50/min). And, there are some technical hurdles that must cleared to synchronize the text with the video.

The Federal 508 web site accessibility guidelines state the following for multimedia content:

(b) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation.

(k) A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a web site comply with the provisions of this part, when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes.

All web content authors should keep this issue on their radar, as it is certainly going to become a bigger one as web video becomes more and more popular.