Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a workshop run by Jon Moltz on the CVAA (21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act). This is relevant to my team at BBC as we are taking on more projects for launch in the USA.
This is a quick summery of my notes. Mostly written for myself but published here in case they are useful to other.
What is the CVAA
The CVAA is a law passed in 2010 which aims to ensure that online video had the same or better accessibility than broadcast video.
It’s managed by the FCC and gets lots of updates and notes. Some of it is ‘normative’ (a rule) and some is ‘non normative’ (not a rule).
The updates come out often and are issued as PDFs.
How is it structured.
The law is split into two parts.
Title 1 deal with phone and phone like real time communication applications.
Title 2 deals with online video.
The main points.
Title 1 effects things like help systems if they include two way communication (like text chat inside an app, or on a web page). For those sort of apps there are requirements around reporting but we didn’t discuss it much because our apps don’t do that.
Title 2 effects video and video players. All video plays must be ‘accessible’ and the act mentions blindness and hearing impairments.
Additionally, if content is tied to a broadcast (e.g. Is a TV show on catch up, or pre-roll) then it must have Captions and probably should have audio description (I’m not 100% sure)
The CVAA requires that users are able to customise the way captions are displayed.
That sounds okay.
My take away is that the CVAA at a high level is not that difficult. We do almost all of it already for other reasons and have work in progress on the rest.
However CVAA is not the only law relevant to us. There is the Americans With Disabilities Act which is broader and also applies. However we didn’t dig into that so much.
I think that covers the bulk of it. These are just my notes etc so they may be way wrong! Hopefully it’s helpful to share them.