Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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G87: Providing closed captions

Important Information about Techniques

See Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria for important information about the usage of these informative techniques and how they relate to the normative WCAG 2.0 success criteria. The Applicability section explains the scope of the technique, and the presence of techniques for a specific technology does not imply that the technology can be used in all situations to create content that meets WCAG 2.0.


Any audiovideo technology where there are user agents that support closed captions.

This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to provide a way for people who have hearing impairments or otherwise have trouble hearing the dialogue in synchronized media material to be able to view the material and see the dialogue and sounds - without requiring people who are not deaf to watch the captions. With this technique all of the dialogue and important sounds are embedded as text in a fashion that causes the text not to be visible unless the user requests it. As a result they are visible only when needed. This requires special support for captioning in the user agent.

NOTE: Captions should not be confused with subtitles. Subtitles provide text of only the dialogue and do not include important sounds.


Example 1

In order to ensure that users who are deaf can use their interactive educational materials, the college provides captions and instructions for turning on captions for all of their audio interactive educational programs.

Example 2

The online movies at a media outlet all include captions and are provided in a format that allows embedding of closed captions.

Example 3

Special caption files including synchronization information are provided for an existing movie. Players are available that can play the captions in a separate window on screen, synchronized with the movie window.

Example 4

A video of a local news event has captions provided that can be played over the video or in a separate window depending on the player used.


Resources are for information purposes only, no endorsement implied.

Guides to Captioning


Other Captioning



  1. Turn on the closed caption feature of the media player

  2. View the synchronized media content

  3. Check that captions (of all dialogue and important sounds) are visible

Expected Results

If this is a sufficient technique for a success criterion, failing this test procedure does not necessarily mean that the success criterion has not been satisfied in some other way, only that this technique has not been successfully implemented and can not be used to claim conformance.