The Give and Take of Accessibility

A soup spoon with alphabet soup letters spelling AODA

Did you know that not all guidelines of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are required under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)? Neither did I.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a webinar hosted by the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) called "What is the WCAG? Web Content Accessibility Guidelines". It was presented by David MacDonald, who was the only Canadian consultant on the WCAG development team.

Much of what was discussed I already knew, laid out most accurately in our own series on the AODA. However, there were two WCAG requirements that were left out of the AODA, which I did not know.

These were the guidelines for live captioning and guidelines for audio description for pre-recorded content.They were deemed too onerous to include in the AODA.

Obviously not everything would be accessible over night, but my gut reaction was to be unimpressed at this exclusion. What were end-users in need of these services to do?

Then I reconsidered. For audio description at least, there is a guideline that must be followed that stipulates the provision of audio description or a media alternative, which could also mean accompanying text giving all visual and auditory cues in writing. This isn't perfect, but it's certainly an alternative I could live with.

There also might be a suitable alternative for a lack of live captioning as well. As captioning for pre-recorded content is still required, it would be necessary to provide captions on the recorded version of that live event. Of course, it couldn't be experienced live by those who need captions, so isn't entirely ideal either. The best hope is that this pre-recorded, formerly live event is uploaded quickly so that users who need captions can have access to that content as close to the same day as possible.

As I am learning, and have written often here, accessibility is as much a give and take as it is anything else. I'd like everyone to be 100 per cent compliant in all areas of the WCAG and the AODA, but some things will take time, and others aren't reasonable requests yet.

Questions Answered

How compliant to I have to be on AODA?



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