The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal antidiscrimination statute designed to ensure equal access to opportunities and benefits for qualified individuals with disabilities. In many state, government, and education institutions, videos must include ADA compliant captions.
We know sifting through all of the information about ADA on the Internet can be difficult, and it’s unlikely you’ll find a comprehensive checklist of rules to follow. The spirit of the statute is equal accessibility for all people. In the context of video that means having well-paced, readable closed captions that are synchronized with the audio in your video.
The TechSmith Relay caption editor tracks three ADA compliance rules and lets you know if they are satisfied. The rules tracked by the caption editor are:
- Each individual caption is between three and seven seconds long
- Captions are available throughout the entire video, even when there is no speaking
- Each caption contains at least one character and no more than 100
Along with the rules tracked by the caption editor, a few other ADA compliance best practices include:
- Captions are timed to synchronize with the audio
- Upper and lowercase letters are used when necessary
- Indicate when no narration is present and describe any relevant sound effects
Finding and Fixing Non-Compliant Captions
The caption editor lets you know when one or more of the tracked compliance rules are not satisfied. The ADA Compliance Indicator (shown below) offers a snapshot of which rules are satisfied and helps direct you to the points in the video that require work. Individual captions that do not meet requirements turn yellow and indicate what is causing them to be non-compliant. Both of these features are explained below.
Using the ADA Compliance Indicator
If any of the tracked ADA compliance rules are not satisfied, the indicator displays a yellow circle with an exclamation point. Click the tab to see which rules are not satisfied.
Rules with a yellow exclamation point next to them have at least one error. Click a rule to jump to the first error of that type on the timeline. After fixing the error, click to see if there are any more of that type. Once you have fixed all errors for a certain rule, it will have a green check next to it. When there are no compliance errors on the timeline, the indicator displays a green circle with a check mark.
Addressing Non-Compliant Captions
Individual captions that do not meet ADA compliance rules will turn yellow. This means the caption falls into one or both of the following categories.
- Shorter than three seconds or longer than seven
- The caption contains no text or more than 100 characters
When you select a caption, it will display its duration and the number of characters it contains over or under 100. This helps you determine what changes must be made to the caption to make it ADA compliant. For example, the caption below is too long, because it is over seven seconds long and contains 35 more characters than ADA compliance allows. In this case, it would be a good idea to break this line into two captions.
The caption editor supports ADA compliance, but cannot enforce it. You can still publish non-compliant captions. To ensure complete compliance, consult an ADA expert in your organization.
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