Adding accessibility services to your media demonstrates a commitment to making your content inclusive and accessible to all, while also helping you meet a variety of important established standards and regulations. Below, we’ve developed a helpful primer for the most prevalent regulations across industries so you can ensure you’re always in compliance.
Note: This primer is meant to provide a brief summarization of each guideline only. For further details and guidance regarding compliance in each area, we recommend reviewing guidelines in full following each summary.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):
A federal civil rights law in the United States prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in everyday activities. The ADA requires that title II entities (state and local governments) and title III entities (businesses and nonprofit organizations serving the public) communicate effectively with people who have vision, hearing, or speech disabilities. Aids and services that can be provided by these entities to effectively communicate include closed captioning, screen reader software, video description, and other accessible technologies. Learn more.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Guidelines
Accessibility guidelines specific to the United States mandating various aspects of media accessibility, particularly in reference to television.
21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA):
A suite of updates to United States federal communications law, signed in 2010, aimed at increasing access of persons with disabilities to modern communications. Includes two titles: Title I – Telecommunications Access Title II – Video Programming. Learn more.
Closed Captioning on Television:
Viewers who are D/deaf and hard of hearing are required to have full access to television programming via closed captions that are accurate, synchronous, complete, and properly placed. Standards vary between prerecorded, live, and near-live programming. Learn more.
Captioning of Internet Video Programming:
Requires captioned programs shown on TV to also be captioned when re-aired on the Internet. Types of programming requiring captions varies depending on differing factors. Learn more.
Requires applicable top broadcast TV stations and top subscription TV systems to provide 87.5 hours per calendar quarter of audio-described programming. Check official guidelines for specific requirements of hours, breakdown of content types to be described, and network eligibility. Learn more.
Rehabilitation Act of 1973:
A federal act requiring access to programs and activities funded by federal agencies and to federal employment. Learn more.
Section 508: Requires federal agencies to make electronic and information technology, such as websites and web documents, accessible to people with disabilities. Recent updates to[BL1] Section 508 reference Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements in WCAG 2.0 (see below). Learn more.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0)
Wide-ranging recommendations for optimal web content accessibility to people with disabilities including blind and low vision, D/deaf and hard of hearing, and more. Based off four principles of accessibility: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. WCAG 2.0 has three levels of conformance. Learn more.
Minimum level of conformance, with guidelines that include: prerecorded video content with audio must have closed captions; prerecorded video content with audio must have video description OR text video description that is accessible via screen reader technology.
Recommended level for most organizations, with guidelines that include: live streaming videos must include live closed captions; prerecorded video content with audio must have audio description; alt text or similar solution utilized for images that convey meaning. Includes all Level A and AA requirements.
Compliance that makes a website accessible to the maximum number of users, with guidelines including sign language interpretation for audio or video content. Includes all Level A, AA, and AAA requirements.
Captionmax works to help ensure you are in compliance with relevant guidelines based on industry, services, and more. For more information, or to learn more about these guidelines, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.