Quick reference: accessibility requirements for online audio and video

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The purpose of Guideline 1.2 of WCAG 2.0 is to provide access to time-based media and synchronised media for people with disabilities by providing an alternative format.

This has ramifications for those who work with all online video and audio content, including:

  • audio-only
  • video-only
  • audio-video
  • audio and/or video with interaction

The media types are also separated in pre-recorded and live media.

The quick reference table below outlines the alternative format required for different time-based and synchronised media to achieve compliance with the nine success criteria associated with Guideline 1.2. These alternatives include transcripts, captions, audio description and extended audio description, and sign language.

Alternative WCAG 2.0 - A WCAG 2.0 - AA WCAG 2.0 - AAA
Alternative formats required for time-based media as specified in the
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0
A Pre-recorded audio-only

A1 Transcript

Yes (1.2.1)



B Prerecorded video-only

B1 Audio equivalent

Yes (1.2.1)



B2 Full text alternative

Yes (1.2.1)



C Pre-recorded audio-video

C1 Captions

Yes (1.2.2) Yes Yes

C2 Audio description

Yes (alt C3)* (1.2.3) Yes ( 1.2.5) Yes

C3 Full text alternative

Yes (alt C3)* (1.2.3) No Yes (1.2.8)

C4 Sign language

No No Yes (1.2.6)

C5 Extended audio description

No No Yes (1.2.7)
D Live audio-only

D1 Captions

No No Yes (1.2.9)
E Live audio-video

E1 Captions

No Yes (1.2.4) Yes

Please note that this table is only a summary. Please refer to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 for the standards document approved by the W3C. Understanding WCAG 2.0 and Techniques for WCAG 2.0 also provide supporting techniques and information which may be useful.

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