Understanding Success Criterion 1.2.1: Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded)

For prerecorded audio-only and prerecorded video-only media, the following are true, except when the audio or video is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such:

Prerecorded Audio-only

An alternative for time-based media is provided that presents equivalent information for prerecorded audio-only content.

Prerecorded Video-only

Either an alternative for time-based media or an audio track is provided that presents equivalent information for prerecorded video-only content.

Intent of Success Criterion 1.2.1: Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded)

The intent of this Success Criterion is to make information conveyed by prerecorded audio-only and prerecorded video-only content available to all users. Alternatives for time-based media that are text based make information accessible because text can be rendered through any sensory modality (for example, visual, auditory or tactile) to match the needs of the user. In the future, text could also be translated into symbols, sign language or simpler forms of the language (future).

An example of pre-recorded video with no audio information or user interaction is a silent movie. The purpose of the transcript is to provide an equivalent to what is presented visually. For prerecorded video content, authors have the option to provide an audio track. The purpose of the audio alternative is to be an equivalent to the video. This makes it possible for users with and without vision impairment to review content simultaneously. The approach can also make it easier for those with cognitive, language and learning disabilities to understand the content because it would provide parallel presentation.

A text equivalent is not required for audio that is provided as an equivalent for video with no audio information. For example, it is not required to caption video description that is provided as an alternative to a silent movie.

See also

Benefits of Success Criterion 1.2.1: Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded)

  • This Success Criterion helps people who have difficulty perceiving visual content. Assistive technology can read text alternatives aloud, present them visually, or convert them to braille.
  • Alternatives for timed-based media that are text based may help some people who have difficulty understanding the meaning of prerecorded video content.
  • People who are deaf, are hard of hearing, or who are having trouble understanding audio information for any reason can read the text presentation. Research is ongoing regarding automatic translation of text into sign language.
  • People who are deaf-blind can read the text in braille.
  • Additionally, text supports the ability to search for non-text content and to repurpose content in a variety of ways.

Examples of Success Criterion 1.2.1: Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded)

  • An audio recording of a speech

    The link to an audio clip says, "Chairman's speech to the assembly." A link to a text transcript is provided immediately after the link to the audio clip.

  • An audio recording of a press conference

    A Web page includes a link to an audio recording of a press conference that identifies the audio recording. The page also links to a text transcript of the press conference. The transcript includes a verbatim record of everything the speakers say. It identifies who is speaking as well as noting other significant sounds that are part of the recording, such as applause, laughter, questions from the audience, and so on.

  • An animation that illustrates how a car engine works

    An animation shows how a car engine works. There is no audio and the animation is part of a tutorial that describes how an engine works. Since the text of the tutorial already provides a full explanation, the media is an alternative for text and the text alternative includes only a brief description of the animation and refers to the tutorial text for more information.

  • A video-only file with an audio track

    A silent movie includes an audio track which includes a description of the action in the video.

Resources Success Criterion 1.2.1: Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded)

Techniques for Success Criterion 1.2.1: Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded)

Sufficient Techniques

Situation A: If the content is prerecorded audio-only:

  1. Providing a full text transcript for the audio
  2. SL17

Situation B: If the content is prerecorded video-only:

  1. Providing a full text transcript of the video content
  2. Providing audio that describes the important video content and describing it as such
  3. SL17

Advisory Techniques

  • H96
  • Providing a transcript of a live audio only presentation after the fact (future link)
  • Linking to textual information that provides comparable information (e.g., for a traffic Webcam, a municipality could provide a link to the text traffic report.) (future link)

Failures