The Vudoo Interactive Video Player is Now WCAG 2.1 AA Certified
Today, Vudoo is extremely excited to announce that we have achieved official certification of WCAG 2.1 AA by our independent reviewers at the Digital Accessibility Centre. Major updates have been made to support this work so that we can offer a superior interactive video experience for everyone, across a range of different devices.
Over 15% of the world’s population have some form of disability that affects their ability to experience web content. Modern day technology has given us the power to provide web users with endless opportunities to connect, learn, and experience content in ways we’d never imagined. Yet, for people with disabilities, this isn’t always possible, unless the technologies utilized are inclusive and accessible.
We believe that content, and videos in particular, should be experienced by anyone and everyone. That’s why we’ve been working hard on building capabilities to make video content more accessible and inclusive to the hearing and vision impaired through WCAG 2.1 AA certification.
What is the WCAG 2.1 AA Certification?
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a set of web standards that covers a wide range of recommendations for making web content more accessible.
By following the WCAG guidelines, companies can create content that is available to a wider range of people with disabilities, including accommodations for blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement and speech disabilities, as well as people with learning disabilities and cognitive limitations.
To ensure that our interactive video player lived up to the accessibility standards set out, we made it our mission to provide a platform that complied with the requirements specified in WCAG 2.1 AA.
To achieve certification, a product undergoes an extensive technical compliance review, which we’re pleased to reveal that the Vudoo interactive player has now met.
“As a company that prides itself in building an intuitive interactive video platform, we want to do everything we can to empower our customers to provide more accessible videos for their end-users. Part of this is offering a tool that creates equal opportunity for everyone to access online video content while delivering an outstanding video experience to people with disabilities. It’s an important initiative, which is why we’ve been taking proactive steps to improve accessibility options to make everyone’s lives easier.”
Nick Morgan, Vudoo Co-founder and CEO
What changes have we made to our platform to become WCAG 2.1 AA certified?
Here are some of our major changes, and how they can play a role in ensuring interactive video content is accessible to more people all around the world:
A key component of accessibility is the ability to convert video audio content to text instantly with automatic transcription and closed caption generation. Harnessing the power of the Amazon Transcribe service, the Vudoo interactive player can convert speech to text quickly and accurately, generating alternative transcriptions and closed captions in up to 54 different languages on demand, which also enables searchability for specific words. This is extremely beneficial for those with hearing loss to quickly and reliably view and enjoy interactive videos.
In addition to a transcript, audio description is a form of narration that helps users who are blind, have low vision or cognitive impairment interpret visual information so that listeners have an understanding of what is happening visually.
This is especially helpful when a video doesn’t have any (or much) dialogue. Vudoo’s audio description functionality provides information about all visual elements including actions, characters, scene changes and on-screen text. More crucially, it also describes any interactive features that occur in the video from pins, overlays and in-video forms. This can allow listeners to engage with interactive content that they previously weren’t able to before. Not only does this help people with disabilities, but this can also be helpful in a learning environment, particularly for children, or those who are primarily auditory learners. In fact, approximately 30% of people absorb auditory information best, and may benefit from audio description.
Support for screen readers
Vudoo’s new updates are designed to support screen readers and other assistive tools. A screen reader is an assistive technology that can translate text on screen or images on screen to braille or speech output.
So, for users who rely on screen readers, all interactive elements including pins, hot spots and forms can be read accordingly. This makes it particularly useful in situations where people need further audio description to find out the purpose of an interactive button or require assistance with filling in a form within the video.
Live regions or, in other words, the portion of a user’s screen that contains dynamically updated information, are used to announce interactions as and when they appear during the video’s timeline.
The Vudoo interactive player experience can be navigated using only a keyboard for highlighting objects and interactions in focus. Vudoo’s keyboard shortcuts give users a faster way to perform certain tasks without the need for a mouse. This is especially important for those with mobility issues. Without shortcuts, tasks can be particularly time consuming or difficult for users who are primarily using a keyboard. Our new updates mean that users can now easily play, pause, stop and adjust the volume in the player control, as well as activate interactions, just by using keyboard shortcuts.
Graphics and images within video overlays make content stand out and help to provide even more value for the viewers. But not everyone can see or understand those images in the same way. For people with partial blindness or visual impairments, sometimes an image might be difficult to fully comprehend.
To ensure that any images uploaded are easy to understand, the Vudoo interactive player now includes alternative text to provide users with a short description of the most important visuals within a video, allowing them to access images or other page objects.
Alternatively, purely decorative visuals can be hidden from assistive technology to avoid confusing viewers or listeners with unnecessary content announcements.
These are just a few examples, but our technology goes far beyond these. As a society, we all benefit from accessible, inclusive designs. It contributes to better experiences, better service, and a better product. At Vudoo, we’re thrilled to be able to make upgrades that promote inclusivity and will continue working towards a future where people with disabilities can experience media to the fullest extent possible. That’s why we’re committed to continuously expanding our functionalities and ensuring that both accessibility and innovation lead the development of new product features. Having this at the forefront of our minds will give us immense opportunities to be creative and we can’t wait to see where the future will take us!