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How To Create Section 508 Compliant Multimedia

As a content creator or content approver you must be able to evaluate multimedia assets, including videos, podcasts, and audio files, for Section 508 compliance. According to the Federal Government Digitalgov.gov website, there are specific requirements in creating videos and multimedia presentations including:

The big four are:

  • Provide captions - Ensure that all videos, podcasts or other audio-only files, such as .mp3's include text transcripts of these files.  For DAU staff and faculty uploading content to DAU Media, this process is automated and when you upload content an initial transcript is created. However, it is the video owners responsibility to review the transcript for correctness, especially with regard to proper names and acronyms.  DAU staff and faculty can find instruction on the DAUNet on how to edit captions in DAU Media. 
  • Audio descriptions for visual content that is not described in the narration.  For example, if the video was of a cooking show and the host said "Cut the carrots like this." If you simply had a transcript of what was said, a visually impaired person would not know whether the chef was cutting the carrots sliced in circles or julienned into matchsticks. In this case, it would be required to have an alternative audio track that not only had the transcript but the added information that the chef was demonstrating cutting the carrots into small matchstick sized pieces. Describing that the chef's knife was red, would also be a visual element that would not be in the transcript, but it is also not relevant to the message of the video, so would not be required in the audio description.  If the video is of someone simply speaking or an interview, the audio description is usually not required.
  • Utilize a 508 compliant video player - The DAU Media video player is 508 compliant, so you do not need to be concerned with this for content hosted there.  (As a note, YouTube is not 508 compliant.)
  • Ensure that videos, animations, or other multimedia products do not contain flashing, strobing, optical illusions or flickering elements within a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55 Hz, as they can cause some people to experience seizures, dizziness, and nausea. The best way to ensure this is don't include flashing, strobing or flickering elements.

DAU staff and faculty can find more information on internal DAU guidance about creating videos on the DAUNet. (Restricted to DAU staff and faculty only)