Create Section 508-Compliant Videos on Your Government Websites

Nov 21, 2013

It is undeniable the reach of online video into our modern lives. From cats in shark costumes riding on Roombas to the 2.1 million people live streaming the 2012 Super Bowl. Online video inspires us with TED talks and allows us to feel the rush of Felix Baumgartner jumping from space. With online video so embedded (online video geek pun) in our lives, it makes perfect sense for Government to use online video to engage its citizens.

One of Government’s mandates is that services and information must be delivered in a way that is accessible to all of its citizens. Survey data reveals that 17% of US Citizens have a disability that impacts computer use. Special considerations must be taken to prepare content to be consumed by these users.

Image of a workshop video player where a block of text on the screen says, I'm disabled and I'm having trouble with website accessibility.

In 1998, the U.S. Congress revised the Section 508 Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires that electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, open new opportunities for people with disabilities, and encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals.

Bringing online video and accessibility together can be a challenge. Making a video Section 508 Compliant requires video captions, audio descriptions, a 508 compliant player and is best considered at the onset of a video project, not pieced together at the end.

In early 2012, an interagency group of Section 508 experts, convened by the General Services Administration (GSA), created the first drafts of a set of working documents intended to inform and guide those set with the task of creating Section 508 Compliant videos.

How to Create Section 508-Compliant Videos on Your Government Websites

We welcome your feedback. We intend to maintain and plan to evolve these documents.