How To Celebrate The Fifth Annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Posted by Anna on May 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm. ADA, CVAA, Captioners, Captioning, DOJ, Video Description, WCAG
Global Accessibility Awareness Day logo against a cloudy blue sky

Global Accessibility Awareness Day logo against a cloudy blue sky

Tomorrow marks the fifth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), and the story of how GAAD came to be is every bit as modern as the cause it champions:

“The idea of a Global Accessibility Awareness Day started with a single blog post written by a Los Angeles-based web developer,Joe DevonJennison Asuncion, an accessibility professional from Toronto discovered Joe’s blog post purely by accident thanks to Twitter. After reading it, he immediately contacted Joe and they joined forces, leveraging their extensive and respective networks to realize the event.”

Beginning in 2015, rather than using a fixed date, Devon and Asuncion decided to mark GAAD on the third Thursday of May. On their website, they provide a full list of in person and online events that the public is welcome to take part of.

At a time when website accessibility regulations are popping up everywhere, these events are a perfect opportunity to learn more about the future of online accessibility.

To learn how you can make your online video content accessible, contact

How To Write A Winning Entry For Just Add Words!

Posted by Anna on May 12, 2016 at 10:00 am. Just Add Words, Video Describers, Video Description

A man writes with a pen on lined notebook paper

A man writes with a pen on lined notebook paper

Thinking about entering our third annual Just Add Words Video Description Contest? Here are some tips for creating a winning entry:

Relevance of Detail

Writers should describe whatever information (settings, characters, actions, graphics, on-screen text, and other details) is most important for a blind viewer to understand what is happening in the program. Description should not duplicate any material that is already clear from the program’s dialogue or sound effects, such as “a woman laughs” or “the doorbell rang.”

Clarity of Description

Descriptions should be accurate and easy to visualize. Writers should remain as objective as possible and avoid adding their own opinions or interpretations.

Vividness of Language

Writers should bring the scene to life by using the active voice, precise verbs, and evocative diction.

Consistency of Mood

Writers should choose language that matches the mood, tone, and visual style of the program.

Timing and Readability

The descriptions must fit around the characters’ dialogue and within the total run time of the seen. They should be readable at a natural pace by voiceover talent. Try reading your entry along with the video and edit it down if necessary.

Finally, watch last year’s winners and learn! They did an amazing job.

Video description is an incredible assistive technology that allows blind and low-vision audiences to access a program’s visual content by translating images into words. To learn more about how to add content to your description, contact

NYC, Europe Enact Website Accessibility Standards

Posted by Anna on May 10, 2016 at 4:07 pm. ADA, Captioning, DOJ, Video Description, WCAG
Illustration of computer with WCAG and related accessibility symbols on it

Illustration of computer with WCAG and related accessibility symbols on it

2016 has already been a big year for creating regulations around website accessibility. In March, New York City became the first major municipality in the United States to adopt legislation mandating accessibility standards for all of its government agency websites. The New York City government serves over 8 million people and employs approximately 325,000 for its 120+ agencies.

The law recognizes that Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA (”WCAG 2.0 AA”) is quickly becoming the international standard for website accessibility.  While the Department of Justice has continually delayed setting legally-required standards for state and local governments under Title II of the ADA, as well as public accommodations (which encompasses private businesses) under Title III, it has strongly indicated through investigations, settlements, and court filings over the last 5 years that websites will be deemed “accessible” if they are compliant with WCAG 2.0 AA standards.

The law requires that the City establishes a website protocol within 6 months. If the City chooses to adopt a protocol that differs from WCAG 2.0 AA, “it must first consult with experts in website design, conduct a public hearing, and ensure that any differences will still provide effective communication for persons with disabilities.”

Last week, more than three years after its proposal, members of the European Parliament, Council, and Commission agreed on the first EU-wide rules to make public sector websites and mobile apps more accessible:

The Directive will cover public sector bodies’ websites and mobile apps, from administrations, courts and police departments to public hospitals, universities and libraries. It will make them accessible for all citizens – in particular for the blind, the hard of hearing, the deaf, and those with low vision and with functional disabilities.”

The EU web accessibility policy requires that “top-level” EUROPA pages, as well as all new EUROPA pages and sub-sites should meet the WCAG 2.0 AA standards. They are currently working to bring as many lower-level pages as possible up to that same standard.

While WCAG 2.0 AA standards apply to many different aspects of websites, these are the guidelines for video content:

Level A (Beginner)

To conform to Level A guidelines, online content producers must provide the following:

Offline Captions Pre-recorded video content with audio must have closed captions.

Video Description Pre-recorded video content with audio must have video description OR text video description (media alternative) that is accessible using screen reader technology.

Level AA (Intermediate)

To conform to Level AA guidelines, online content producers must provide what is listed in Level A, as well as:

Live Captions Live streaming videos must have closed captions.

Video Description Pre-recorded video content with audio must have video description.

To find out more about how you can make your online video content compliant with these standards, contact



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