Guidelines for Audio and Video Embedding

One of the best parts of building the modern web is bringing innovative, creative, and interactive experiences to our users. Every year, technological advancements allow us to incorporate new things in our websites and applications that developers 15, 10, or even just five years ago wouldn’t have imagined were possible. It’s one of the most engaging and exciting parts of being a developer and a huge part of why so many of us have chosen this career.

However, when we’re building video, audio, multimedia, or animations into our websites or applications, we can’t overlook the accessibility aspect. It’s crucial to emphasize that this doesn’t mean that we need to forgo including these kinds of experiences. Just because we’re building an accessible product doesn’t mean we have to build a limited or boring product. However, similarly to images, data visualizations, and other non-text-based media, we do need to provide alternate ways for our users to engage with the content we’ve provided if it’s inherently inaccessible.

Additionally, whenever possible, we should provide ways for our users to adjust the experience to make it safe, comfortable, and enjoyable for them. Remember, the most accessible experience is the one our users can customize to their own needs and preferences. We won’t be able to anticipate every user’s needs, and not all of our users’ needs will be the same! By offering ways for our users to adapt and adjust the experience, we’re giving them the toolset they need to fully engage with our website or application.

Guidelines for audio and video

Including multimedia content is an excellent option that, in and of itself, can be a great accessibility tool. As a best practice, anytime we can present the same content in multiple ways, we are inherently making that content more accessible. For our users who are visually impaired or have cognitive disorders (such as dyslexia) that make reading challenging, audio or video presentations can offer a huge benefit. Not to mention, some folks just have a personal preference, find multimedia content more engaging, and will learn more effectively this way!

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