6.7 Audio / Video / Animation

The use of audio/video clips in a website can enrich the content and render the communication more effective for the visitor; however, the following guidelines should be followed while including audio/video clips on the website.

6.7.1 Download Details for Video and Audio Clips

  1. Download information MUST be provided to help users determine whether they wish to access the video or audio clip. This includes the download and usage instructions, file size, and file format.
  2. If a specific software programme is required to access the multimedia file, a link to enable the user to download it MUST be provided.

6.7.2 Text Equivalents for Video and Audio Clips

In order to ensure that content of video and audio clips is accessible to all, including those with impaired vision, hearing impaired or those accessing the information on slow connections:

  1. Government websites MUST provide equivalent information of audio only/ video only clips (e.g. a text description of the audio/video). In case of videoonly clips audio description of the video may also be provided in place of text. Ref. WCAG 1.2.1
  2. When audio (live or pre recorded) is synchronised with other media for presenting information the audio information MUST be presented as captions for the benefit of hearing impaired or those who do not have access to audio. Captions must not only include dialogue, but identify who is speaking and include non-speech information conveyed through sound, including meaningful sound effects. In case of video presented in synchronised media audio descriptions must be provided (if all of the information in the video track is already provided in the audio track, no audio description is necessary) WCAG 1.2.2 & 1.2.3.

6.7.3 Animations

The use of animation can be an effective means for drawing attention to key aspects of a website. However, Government websites should ensure that animations used on the site do not distract or irritate users or lead to unacceptable download times. Animation should be used only if it adds value to a page. File sizes of animated images should be kept small by limiting the number of frames.

  1. Certain special effects such as blinking or flashing have been reported to cause epileptic seizures. It is also seen that people are more sensitive to red flashing than other colours.Web pages MUST not contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period. (Ref. WCAG 2.3.2)
  2. For any moving, blinking or scrolling information that starts automatically and lasts for more than 5 seconds and is presented in parallel with other content, there MUST be a mechanism for the user to pause, stop, or hide it (unless the movement, blinking, or scrolling is part of an activity where it is essential). Many web pages also contain auto updating content that disappears or is updated in a preset interval of time e.g. stock prices, news etc. In such case also the user MUST have a mechanism to pause, stop or hide the content or to control its frequency unless this auto updation is a part of an activity where it is essential. (Ref. WCAG 2.2.2)
  3. If any audio on a Web page plays automatically for more than 3 seconds, there MUST be mechanism to pause or stop the audio. Individuals who use screen reading software can find it hard to hear the speech output if there is other audio playing at the same time. Also as screen readers speech output is controlled via the same volume control as the system sound control the webpage MUST provide a means to control the volume of audio playing in the page independently from the overall system volume level. (Ref. WCAG 1.4.2)