Accessible and inclusive

Many people with disabilities have problems on a daily basis to access digital information. This is why guidelines were drawn up for making digital channels, including websites, accessible.

Subtitling online videos is vital to a wide range of disabled people, not only the deaf and hard-of-hearing. But providing web videos with subtitles has more advantages. If they are subtitled, search engines can index their content, which makes the information easier to be found. Plus, users without disabilities can watch a subtitled video without disturbing fellow travellers, colleagues, housemates or family members.

Video and accessibility; the rules
The government imposes requirements on the accessibility of audiovisual content on the internet. This way, users with disabilities can also access this information. In short, this requirement states that with sound and moving image, a textual alternative should be provided in the form of a transcription or subtitling.

What do these requirements apply to?
In the accessibility guidelines, audio and video content are defined as follows: Audio (without video), moving image (without audio) and film (a combination of video, audio and possibly interactive elements).

Must all online videos be subtitled?
A live stream, whether it involves a webinar or a council meeting, does not require subtitling, as the embedded link will be removed immediately afterwards. But as soon as a video of previously live-streamed audio or video stays online after the event or is made available again, the requirements for previously recorded audio and video apply.

From when is this applicable?
The WCAG guidelines apply as of 23 September 2019 to all new content on government websites. But videos from before that date will have to comply as well; from 23 September 2020, all digital information from local and national authorities must be made accessible.

Do these guidelines apply only to authorities?
No, they also apply to commercial, educational and non-profit sites, and more.

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