What Are Common Video Content Accessibility Compliance Issues that Cities Overlook?

Updated: May 02, 2023

Connected Communities Summit - Gov Video Best Practices - Daniell on Compliance Oversights

Municipalities and community media centers have come under sharp focus in recent times for not adhering to closed captioning and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance regulations. With closed captioning being the norm in most media formats, it's crucial for municipalities to adopt a strategic and holistic approach to ensure that they are not left behind.

In a recent Connected Communities Summit, Democracy on-Demand: Accessibility Best Practices for your Municipal Video Communications, host Dana Healy asked Krawczyk to name the common compliance issues and recommended solutions to this problem.

Krawczyk says, “One of the biggest mistakes that cities and media centers make is assuming that captioning through their stream provider is enough to meet ADA compliance standards. While this may seem like a quick-fix solution, it only applies to the [web streaming content] and not other media formats like cable channels, social media, and [over-the-top streaming services] like Roku and Apple TV.” Krawczyk advises that municipalities should take a top-down approach and ensure that accessibility is added to all platforms in their distribution chain.

“It's essential to look at the bigger picture and adopt a systemic approach to this problem. A holistic approach will enable municipal communication workers to address all media formats and platforms, not just a few.” As Krawczyk notes, “This might require some effort and time, but it's not challenging since it's a similar process from city to city. It's possible to model and replicate the solution across multiple locations.”

Krawczyk’s main takeaway is that municipal communication workers need to be proactive in addressing closed captioning and ADA compliance issues. They should not assume that a quick-fix solution is enough to meet regulatory requirements. Instead, they should adopt a systemic approach that considers all media formats and platforms. This will not only ensure compliance but also help cities and media centers reach a broader audience, including those with hearing disabilities.

The full on-demand version of this Connected Communities Summit on government video accessibility best practices is available here.

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