Section 508 Compliance for Videos

Do videos need to be Section 508 compliant? 

In 1998 the United States Congress revised Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  This revision included an expanded understanding and approach to creating and maintaining media content that is accessible to individuals that have either visual or hearing impairments.  Compliance is not mandated on private organization; however it does affect all federal agency and entities that are receiving federal funds.  Therefore, if you received federal funding you may be required to comply with Section 508.   

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What is a Section 508 Compliant Video? 

In short, a video is Section 508 when it has 3 basic elements: closed Captioning, video descriptors, and a compliant video player.  Closed captioning assists those with hearing disabilities.  Video descriptors (also known a descriptive narration) helps people with visual impairments.  And a compliant player can assist those with both motor impairments and visual impairments (key board navigation or voice commands).  The US government has a useful site on Section 508 compliance to help understand compliance requirements. 

How does the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) impact video hosting? 

The Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”) of 1990 has been applied to internet-based video content.  It applies to federal, state and local governments (including public colleges and universities).  Additionally, “places of public accommodation” are subject to the ADA and may need to comply with video transcription requirements.  For more information about video accessibility requirements this article by the National Association of the Deaf explains When is Captioning Required

Who needs to be Section 508 Compliant? 

Compliance is not mandated on private organization; however it does affect all federal agency and entities that are receiving federal funds.  Therefore, if you received federal funding you may be required to comply with Section 508.   

Can artificial intelligence help deliver closed captioning for internet videos? 

Yes, a variety of artificial intelligence tools are available and can be very effective at generating transcripts for spoken words.  When selecting a provider for this service you should ensure that it provides some mechanism for you to edit the automatically generated transcripts, since you are responsible for providing a high level of fidelity of transcript to the spoken word.  A provider that can integrate the video hosting and transcription is an ideal combination.  Togotiki offers a solution that combines video transcription creation and video hosting.  You might also be interested in learning about the Togotiki tools that can help make your interactive video and virtual tours Section 508 compliant.

You should also consider how 360 virtual tours are meeting the Section 508 requirements.

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