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Unsynchronised audio and video content


From: Steve Green
Date: May 27, 2020 4:13AM

Perhaps I'm over-thinking this, but I would welcome some opinions. For the purposes of this discussion, our client is only interested in what WCAG requires, not what we think it should require, or what it was intended to require or what would be the best user experience. We are only interested in what it actually says.

There are five WCAG success criteria relating to the provision of alternatives for audio and video content, three of which only apply to synchronised media, which is defined as "audio or video synchronized with another format".

I am encountering a lot of videos that contain both audio and video, but they are not synchronised. Success criteria 1.2.2, 1.2.4 and 1.2.5 therefore do not apply, leaving only 1.2.1 and 1.2.3. Both of these require an alternative for the audio track, but as far as I can tell, WCAG only allows text alternatives for audio content in unsynchronised media, which means that captions cannot be used as an alternative.

Does anyone have an alternative interpretation of WCAG that would allow the provision of captions as an alternative for the audio content of unsynchronised media?

Steve Green
Managing Director
Test Partners Ltd
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