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WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines)

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is a set of standards established by the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative designed to make websites and web pages accessible to people with disabilities. The set of guidelines addresses common barriers preventing people from using digital platforms.

The WCAG documents explain how to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities. Web “content” generally refers to the information in a web page or web application, including:

  • natural information such as text, images, and sounds
  • code or markup that defines structure, presentation, etc.


WCAG and video players

Modern browsers provide a default media player. Most have limited functionality to support accessibility. Rather than coding all the things needed to make a player support accessibility, most organizations choose to use an existing player with good accessibility support.  There are players developed specifically for accessibility. Some are free, open source and some are commercial.

Player Accessibility Functionality
Accessible media players provide a user interface that works without a mouse, through speech interface, when the page is zoomed larger, and with screen readers. For example, media players need to:

  • Provide keyboard support (in Understanding WCAG: Keyboard Accessible)
  • Make the keyboard focus indicator visible (in Understanding WCAG: Focus Visible)
  • Provide clear labels (in Understanding WCAG: Labels or Instructions, Info and Relationships)
  • Have sufficient contrast between colors for text, controls, and backgrounds (in Understanding WCAG: Contrast (Minimum), Contrast (Enhanced), Non-text Contrast)

Some media players provide additional accessibility functionality to users such as:

  • Changing the speed of the video
  • Setting how captions are displayed (e.g., text style, text size, colors, and position of the captions)
  • Reading the captions with a screen reader and braille device
  • Interactive transcripts
  • Interactive transcripts use the captions file. Interactive transcripts highlight text phrases as they are spoken. Users can select text in the transcript and go to that point in the video.