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Providing a location for a text transcript

1.2.1 Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded) – Level A requires us to provide a text transcript for any audio or vide content on the site.  

Captions work if you can see, and audio tracks work if you can hear. If you have both vision and auditory disabilities, you may not be able to use either captions or audio tracks. If a user is using a Braille reader to visit the site, captions may present information faster than they can follow. 

By adding a transcript to recorded audio and video content, we make it available to people with deafblindness whose only option is a Braille reader. 

That transcript also benefits users who choose not to view or listen to the recorded media.

True story!
At one of my employers, HR wanted to put out more internal stories on video because “everyone loves video!”. An internal survey revealed that “everyone” — more than 70% of the employees — didn’t mind if a video was present, but wanted a transcript, because they were busy working, and reading an article was much faster than watching a video.

Unlike captions, transcripts are also able to be scanned by search engines, so they improve search engine optimization and help users find that video you provided two years ago that they can only now vaguely remember. 

How to implement

Work with your PM and Developer to ensure that everyone understands why the content is necessary and how it serves the business and user goals. 

Work with your Writer and project team as early as possible to identify content that requires a transcript. As noted on Text Transcripts, they take many hours to produce, so planning ahead is crucial. The length of the description may impact which implementation solution you choose.

Wireframe or prototype the transcript into your designs. 

  • Provide the transcript text in the context of the HTML document which houses the video or audio file.
  • Provide a button that expands a collapsed region that contains the transcript. (For example, use an accordion.)
  • Provide a button to open a dialog that contains the transcript.  
  • Provide a link to a transcript on another page via a normal link text.

How to document

No special documentation is required for this accessibility need. Your usual wireframes or prototypes will suffice. Call out the specific goal of providing a transcript in the documentation or Agile story if necessary. 

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