Microsoft Highlights The Future Of Accessibility Online

Posted by Anna on October 26, 2016 at 5:17 pm. ADA, Consumer Advisory Board, Video Description, WCAG

Kelly sits at a desk next to his laptop.

Earlier today, Microsoft held their Windows 10 Event, a two-hour presentation of new products and features from the technology giant. Microsoft began with a video that underscores the importance of accessibility in the design process, stating: “We don’t build Windows 10 for all of us. We build Windows 10 for each of us.” While the video features how Windows 10 will be improved for people across a range of disabilities, it does a fantastic job of showcasing the enhancements for blind and low-vision screen reader users.

Senior Program Manager, Kelly, who is blind himself, is shown using Windows Narrator on his laptop with the voice sped up to increase efficiency. He says, “So right now we’re at about 80% of capacity of how Narrator could speak. And this is about how I would use my computer. That probably sounds like gibberish, but once you get used to this, it’s pretty quick.”

Most people are unfamiliar with screen reader technology, so it’s wonderful that Microsoft used a high-profile event to give greater context for its application. In past Consumer Advisory Board meetings, CaptionMax has asked its members to listen to different speeds of video description to help us determine how fast our narrators should speak when they record to optimize for quality and efficiency.

Text video description is another option that serves as a full alternative to the video, making it accessible to blind or low-vision individuals with screen reader technology and allowing them to choose their own speed. For several years, CaptionMax has provided text video description, also known as a “media alternative,” as a service for our clients who want to meet WCAG 2.0 Level A standards for their online video content.

We make media accessibility easy for our clients. In addition to helping them understand which services they need to become compliant and reach a wider audience, we offer the increased efficiency, security, and quality of having it all done under one roof. To learn more about WCAG 2.0 compliance, contact

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

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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