There were a few questions from attendees that we didn’t have time to answer during Knowbility’s Audio & Video: Alternative Content for Accessibility webinar on June 21, 2021. Our team of experts, including your presenter Eric Eggert, answered these overflow questions for you!

Do You Need Audio Description When You Have a Transcript?

Question: In the video that offered audio description along with the captions, if you did not create the video, how would you provide audio description that stays in sync with the video since you can’t control the start and stop. In a transcript, a long-ish description might go on longer than the scene and make it quite confusing.


  • Anthony Vasquez: Not all videos need to have an audio description. According to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version 2.1, “if all of the information in the video track is already provided in the audio track, no audio description is necessary.” Source: Understanding Success Criterion 1.2.5: Audio Description (Prerecorded)

    Generally speaking, I imagine that a blind user would not simultaneously read the transcript while viewing the video. So, there wouldn’t be any confusion here.

Audio Description for Video of Online Data Entry

Question: How would you handle a video training that shows an online form and there is "data being entered quickly in various form fields? Currently, these videos have silence or a typing sound. A blind user has no idea of this content. What audio descriptions might you suggest?


  • Alicia Evans: As with everything, this depends on context. What will a user need to know from this training? If it’s pretty high level, then something like “Fill in the form” in the narration or “[Person’s name] fills out the form” in the description should be sufficient. Omit things like typing noises. If it’s a more complicated or nuanced process, then more in-depth narration or description is needed. For example, “[Person’s name] switches to the User Information tab.”

    Why is there a training that silently shows a person filling in a form? Whatever the reason is, this will influence the audio description needed.

Audio Description for a Recorded Webinar

Question: For people who record their presentation then make it available as a webinar, there can be a lot of information on the screen that is not spoken. How much of that info needs to be in the descriptive transcript for that webinar to be considered accessible? Is this a good strategy to create a webinar? E.g. a webinar on how to use a web application that shows the application on the screen but does not announce details on all screen elements.


  • Alicia Evans: Don’t describe every bit of information on the screen. Describe everything that’s relevant to the process and aids in understanding. If, for example, I did a training on how to find blogs on the Knowbility homepage, I would first share the URL for the Knowbility homepage. Then I would navigate to the homepage and describe the navigation and where it is located on the page. I probably would not go into too much depth on what else is on the homepage, even if the homepage is visible. 

Adding Better Captions to Other Owners’ Videos

Question: Is it legal or not, to use a  poorly captioned YouTube, provide a better caption with another resource, and then when I do use the video, I always make reference to where the original came from. I made no changes to the video, just added quality captioning.


  • Eric Eggert: We are not lawyers here at Knowbility. I think if the captions are provided in an educational context, and the original video is referenced, it might fall under fair use in the US.

Captioning Unique Pronunciations

Question: If I’m creating closed captions to someone who pronounces words differently, do I write the way it is said or the way it is normally written?


  • Alicia Evans: Like with most of these questions, the answer is, it depends. If someone says words using their own dialect, like “y’all,” then I would use “y’all” rather than “you all.” If someone says “pronounciation” rather than “pronunciation,” I’d probably just write it correctly in the captions unless there’s a good reason not to.

Video Players that Support Audio Description

Question: What video players provide the ability to turn on audio description tracks?


Including Audio Content in Transcripts

Question: When thinking about deafblind users, does it make sense to have a transcript that both has audio content as well as visual descriptions?


  • Alicia Evans: Yes, definitely! Unfortunately, WCAG 2.1 AA requires an alternative for audio content and an alternative for video content for not both. Deafblind users are left out entirely. A transcript is 100% recommended.

  • Anthony Vasquez: Agreed. A transcript of the audio-described video is best.

Animated GIFs and Seizure Risk

Question: Could some GIFs be the blinking-causes-seizures risk? How would you tell?


  • Alicia Evans: Yes, animated GIFs can cause seizures. Animated GIFs are also issues for people with cognitive and vestibular disabilities. WCAG 2.1 AA requires that all animations can be stopped, paused, or hidden if they proceed for over 5 seconds. In terms of flashing or blinking, the limit is 3 blinks or flashes per second. Even for just one second of animation, this can cause a seizure. Red blinking or flashing is even more likely to cause a seizure. In general, avoid flashing lights altogether.

What Do the Levels in WCAG Mean?

Question: You reference A or AA or AAA in WCAG. I don't know what that means. Brand new to this subject matter.


  • Alicia Evans: Good question. These are the 3 levels of WCAG conformance. The most basic level is level A. These are usually considered the most significant barriers. For example, if there are no captions for a video with audio, then deaf and hard of hearing people will not have access to that information at all. Level AA includes all level A Success Criteria (guidelines) plus more. This level is considered the standard in most instances and is what most web accessibility legal cases are based on in the United States. Level AAA includes all A and AA Success Criteria plus even more and is the most accessible conformance level. Level AAA is a great goal for everyone but is generally not required for most websites.

  • Anthony Vasquez: This blog post by Level Access’s Jonathan Avila also explains the differences among conformance levels. Source: The Difference Between WCAG A and WCAG AA Conformance

  • Eric Eggert: I usually describe it as: A means the worst barriers are fixed for many people. AA means many barriers are fixed for most people. And AAA are stretch goals that might be useful for your website or for your particular audience. For example, if you are providing services for Deaf individuals, using and integrating sign language, a AAA criterion, would be of high priority.