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What are ADA compliance laws for closed captioning videos ?

What are ADA compliance laws for closed captioning videos ?

For decades now, efforts for universal accessibility have been made. However, this issue is still valid and will remain so.

With the objective of improving accessibility for all, concerns are growing, leading to increasingly stringent regulatory measures. “The Americans with Disabilities Act”, commonly known as the ADA, is one of the laws that has made great progress.

Set up in the 1990s, the ADA has mainly put forward regulations on universal access to physical places, but also to technological objects. Today, companies must adapt their online accessibility standards to face widespread internet browsing.

Online accessibility is centered on the idea of removing barriers to accessing digital content that limit certain customers. Video captioning is at the core of the strategy to offer better online accessibility.

Does all the content available online have to be accessible to everyone? It depends on the type of organization it is attached to.

Beyond the legal obligations related to captioning, are there benefits to making content accessible to a wider audience?

Keep on reading and find the answers to these questions.

Laws for accessible organizations

The different types of disabilities must be taken into account in order to minimize barriers to accessibility. We can think of physical disabilities, which require places to be adapted, but also visual and auditory disabilities that rather require the information’s presentation to be adapted.

In the United States, various regulations have been put in place for several organizations. These rules they must abide by are not extended to all or equal to all. Here are three examples of the laws that have been passed:

  • “Americans with Disabilities Act”
    The ADA applies to all materials and services from public entities, such as different levels of government. Everything must be adapted and made accessible to populations with any form of disability.
  • “Rehabilitation Act”
    These regulations require all video content in federal organizations intended for the public to be captioned. A section of this act is dedicated to video content that is published online. For example, the subtitles of courses must be provided by a university when put online.

  • 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act”
    This law applies to television content broadcast online. All video content broadcast on television and then posted online must be subtitled.

And you, are you required to apply the ADA?

It is settled that public institutions must adopt accessibility standards, one of which is closed captioning.

Regarding private organizations’ obligations, it should be remembered that if they operate in a public environment itself subject to accessibility standards, they must also comply.

But is the Internet considered to be a public space subject to specific accessibility standards ? Different legal institutions’ opinions differ on this subject.

However, some businesses that sell goods or services online have been forced by the law to comply with accessibility standards. We can cite furniture stores and airlines, for example. It’s rather common.

Despite the great benefits that making its online content accessible to all can bring, even today, many organizations that are not directly subject to accessibility laws choose not to caption their content.

All benefit from better accessibility

Universal accessibility regulations for content have allowed a significant increase in the proportion of closed-captioned videos.

Beyond the legal aspect of closed captioning, we must also keep in mind all the advantages brought by audience expansion. Millions of people around the world suffer from hearing problems. In the United States, tens of millions of people have a hearing disability. This represents a large audience that will not be able to access your content without captioning,

Not only the hearing impaired will benefit from your subtitles, but also the allophones. Being able to read subtitles makes a statement’s content easier to understand. In addition, once your videos are transcribed, it only takes a snap to them translated in some languages!

The availability of subtitles is also very useful for anyone who wants to watch your content without sound for various reasons.

You can reach otherwise inaccessible audiences by adding subtitles to your videos. The intention to include all of your potential auditors is proof of the respect you have for your audience.

To conclude, even if you are not legally required to follow standards such as those of the ADA, it will greatly benefit your organization to include subtitles in your video content both in terms of audience and SEO.

Two types of video captioning

There are various ways to integrate transcripts into your videos. Here are two examples of different types of subtitles:

  • SRT Subtitles: They come in text format and allow synchronization with your video’s content. Listeners can choose to show closed captioning on the screen or hide it.
  • Embedded (or burned) subtitles: t is possible to burn the subtitles on the video image after the audio content has been transcribed. It won’t be possible for your audience to disable captions with this option.

To learn more about the different subtitle formats and their differences, feel free to read this article

Whether they are embedded or not, adding subtitles will definitely make your content much more accessible. The growth of your audience will reflect the positive effects of this improvement.

If you have questions about the best processes to improve content accessibility, don’t hesitate ton contact the ClosedCaptioner.com team who will know how to guide you effectively!