1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded)

MCS Accessibility Team

MCS Accessibility Team
Last Updated December 04, 2021

The following directions are part of a full step-by-step guide to making a HubSpot website WCAG 2.1 AA compliant. These recommendations are intended for websites managed on the HubSpot CMS but can be adapted for other content management systems.

Principle: Perceivable
Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.
Guideline: Time-based Media
Provide alternatives for time-based media.

Audio description is provided for all prerecorded video content in synchronized media.

View Official WCAG 2.1 Compliance Techniques

Understanding 1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded)

"During existing pauses in dialogue, audio description provides information about actions, characters, scene changes, and on-screen text that are important and are not described or spoken in the main sound track."

This criterion applies specifically to websites that include video with audio (synchronized media). The purpose of this success criteria is to ensure that all viewers, but especially those who are blind or vision impaired, are able to access visual information by hearing it instead. Audio descriptions are also helpful for viewers who may have difficulty interpreting visual content.

Insert audio descriptions of what's on screen: Within your media file, in between the portions of dialogue, another speaker can describe visual information. This information will include things such as a scene description, the characters or people in the scene, changes to the scene, and so on. You may have to insert additional pauses/freeze-frames between dialogue. Here's an example:


Recommended Solutions

To comply with this success criterion, you are controlling the media when it is created. Planning video with these requirements from the outset helps ensure you are prepared to deliver an acceptable video experience. You will likely need to record a second voiceover that can be inserted in between dialogue, and potentially extend or add pauses where this description is most appropriate. 

This accessible version can either be a second audio track that the user can select, or the standard sound track everyone hears.


What is the difference between 1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative (Prerecorded) and 1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded)?

1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative (Prerecorded) is a Level A success criterion, and give the option to provide audio descriptions in video or provide a text only version of a video that includes audio descriptions. 1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded), which is a Level AA success criterion, does not allow for the text alternative options. 

Achieving 1.2.5 compliance makes a website 1.2.3 compliant.

For more information, please visit the official W3C article: Understanding 1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded)


Let us know if we can help you address this specific WCAG Recommendation.