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RE: Audio description requirements question

From: Jonathan Avila <jon.avila@ssbbartgroup.com>
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2012 14:30:31 -0500
Message-ID: <4d24253967811ecb068c5aef878ab078@mail.gmail.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
[Phil wrote]

Ø  So, I think you are really asking how can I meet 1.2.5 and provide audio
descriptions if there are insufficient pauses to provide them?  You can't -
we have what I call a catch 22 situation in the current WCAG 2.0  - I can
meet level A and AAA, but I'm not able to meet AA if there are insufficient
pauses in the audio.  Of course, the devil is in the detail of the term
"sufficient pauses".

Thanks for your comments Phil, I appreciate getting another perspective.

As 1.2.5 indicates that audio descriptions are provided but doesn’t
specifically say pauses (only the non-normative documents do) and the
definition of audio description only mentions pauses in the “notes” -- I
think there is a case to say extended audio description could count as
audio description and thus 1.2.5 could be met through extended audio
description.  The fact that something could be Level AAA compliant and not
Level AA compliant is concerning to those making a business case for
accessibility.  For instance the entire site cannot claim conformance to AA
because we could not even have an alternative conforming version.  The site
couldn’t argue Level AAA unless everything else on the site then was Level
AAA conformant.  The best that a site could argue would be Level A with a
multimedia clip without pauses but had extended audio.   This is definitely
a turn off to people who want to be conformant and get stuck in such a


*From:* Phill Jenkins [mailto:pjenkins@us.ibm.com]
*Sent:* Tuesday, November 06, 2012 7:04 PM
*To:* w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
*Subject:* Re: Audio description requirements question

Jonathan said: ". . . If a multimedia presentation does not have sufficient
pauses to allow for audio description, does it still meet Level AA if a
media description is provided?"

What do you mean by your term "media description"?

A description of what part of the media and in what format? Do you mean a
description of the video provided in a text transcript format?

WCAG 2.0 uses the term "audio descriptions', which means, in my words,
descriptions of the video in an audio format synchronized in the media.
 The other way to provide descriptions of the video is with a text
transcript, which is an alternative to time-based media, providing an
equivalent to the audio, video or both.

1.2.3 Level A requires that either the audio descriptions - or - the text
transcript be provided.  And remember that levels are not priorities, but
levels of capability of implementation among other factors.  While 1.2.5
requires the descriptions to be in an audio format and synchronized in the
media, 1.2.7 is all about extending those audio descriptions when there is
insufficient pauses.  So it would seem to me that you meet the criteria in
1.2.5 only when the audio descriptions are provided.  But if you are asking
if providing a text transcript is meeting the success criteria in 1.2.5
because there is insufficient pauses in the audio to be able to provide
audio descriptions - I would say not - because the level AA is trying to
increase the availability of alternatives in formats that benefit the end
user by specifically requiring the audio descriptions.  Now, having said
that, I believe it is a concern to me that "how much" of the audio
descriptions must be provided to meet 1.2.5. level AA when there is no or
very limited pauses in the audio is not very effective in meeting the goal
of providing the equivalent information. So, by providing the author/owner
a choice in implementation levels due to 2008 or current capabilities, the
WCAG working group or editors may need to clarify this success criteria and
achieving level AA.  The Understanding resource for 1.2.5 Note
not really address the situation when pauses are not sufficient to
provide an equivalent.  Most agree that is the reason for level AAA to
either provide the extended audio descriptions (1.2.7) or a full text
transcript alternative (1.2.8).  So, I think you are really asking how can
I meet 1.2.5 and provide audio descriptions if there are insufficient
pauses to provide them?  You can't - we have what I call a catch 22
situation in the current WCAG 2.0  - I can meet level A and AAA, but I'm
not able to meet AA if there are insufficient pauses in the audio.  Of
course, the devil is in the detail of the term "sufficient pauses".

However, there is a comment we can make to the WCAG editors to add to 1.2.3
and 1.2.5 the phrase ". . . description [that presents equivalent
information] of the prerecorded video . . . " assuming that was the working
group's intent.

Here I've quoted the WCAG Success Criteria for multimedia, please note the
terms "Live" versus "Prerecorded" and 'Audio-only' versus 'Video-only', all
the terms have links to definitions in the glossary:

* Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded):* For
the following are true, except when the audio or video is a media
alternative for
is clearly labeled as such: (Level A)

   - *Prerecorded Audio-only: *An alternative for time-based
provided that presents equivalent information for prerecorded
   - *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.

* Captions (Prerecorded):*
provided for all
in synchronized
except when the media is a media alternative for
is clearly labeled as such. (Level A)

* Audio Description or Media Alternative (Prerecorded):* An alternative for
time-based media<http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/media-equiv-audio-desc.html#alt-time-based-mediadef>or
is provided for synchronized
except when the media is a media alternative for
is clearly labeled as such. (Level A)

* Captions (Live):*
provided for all
in synchronized
(Level AA)

* Audio Description (Prerecorded):* Audio
provided for all
in synchronized
(Level AA)

*1.2.6* <http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/REC-WCAG20-20081211/#media-equiv-sign>*Sign
Language (Prerecorded):
* Sign language
provided for all
in synchronized
(Level AAA)

* Extended Audio Description (Prerecorded):* Where pauses in foreground
audio are insufficient to allow audio
convey the sense of the video, extended
audio description<http://www.w3.org/TR/UNDERSTANDING-WCAG20/media-equiv-extended-ad.html#extended-addef>is
provided for all
in synchronized
(Level AAA)

* Media Alternative (Prerecorded):* An alternative for time-based
provided for all
for all prerecorded
(Level AAA)

Phill Jenkins,
Received on Tuesday, 27 November 2012 19:31:00 UTC

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