Online Accessibility Q+A

by | Aug 6, 2020

Hello, again MINTies!

Thank’s so much for the amazing feedback from training and a quick reminder than the special offer price of £70 for the MINT Mini Web Audit is only available for August!

Joining the Waiting List means you’ll get a mini-website audit – focusing on the changes you can make on your website right now to be more accessible and reach the widest audience as possible.

Now onto the write-up for the Q+A from my training!



Q: I’m wondering the same with my studio, but for clients. the client area is fully accessible but what about the toilet area? 

A: Toilets can be tricky! If you’re renting you may be exempt and it could be up to your landlord to provide on-premises solutions for everyone EXCEPT the public…!

(But do you really want to have to explain that to your clients?) 😓

Without seeing your premises it’s hard to say for definite – but it’s not likely the toilet area is accessible to full-time wheelchair users but easy solutions to consider are:

  • Toilet Frames
    • the benefit of being portable and completely removable
  • Support Rail
    • small profile, easy to install and folds out of the way until needed

The above solutions are sadly no fix for a small toilet area – but can be simple ways of improving accessibility while constrained by landlords etc.


Q: What do you think of the captioning in zoom calls?

A: Honestly…I feel it’s one of the weakest areas of Zoom.

Other video platforms have built it natively into their platform (Google and Microsoft) and while not perfect it’s more reliable and less delayed than Zoom’s third-party options.

By opting for third-party integration Zoom (and other platforms!) have essentially passed the issue onto someone else. Even leading Accessibility Conferences during lockdown have struggled with Zoom’s delay – and I timed an 8-second delay from a live transcriptionist window and the Zoom overlay for live captions.

Because of these captioning issues – it’s even more important that everyone has the best possible set up for live video! Think lighting, wear earphones or headphones, consider an external mic or camera where possible.


Q: With subtitles, you mentioned they need to be good subtitles … is that font or size or anything?

A: I could definitely do a whole hour just on subtitles/captions alone! If you’re uploading captions to somewhere like YouTube – you have no control over the size or fonts – this is set by the viewer depending on their needs.

Good subtitles guidelines are:

  • Subtitles must appear against a black (or dark) background
  • You’re creating instructions for the end-user, not yourself. Make the text accurate, readable and well-timed, rather than pretty.
  • Use a sans-serif easy to read font. (if you’re adding them to video)
  • Don’t simplify the words – this is insulting!
  • Include important noises (captioning) [door bell] [gong] [cheering crowd]
  • Never use more than two lines of text.
  • Try not to break up sentences if you can help it!


Q: What do you use for captions on videos, please? If I do a Live on social media, I’d like to be able to go over it and add subtitles to the video.

A: I’ve trialled and paid for several different options that claim to be a one-stop solution for subs/captions but not found anything that works the way it should!

A free workflow to consider would be:

  • Download your live video from Facebook/LinkedIn/etc
  • Upload to YouTube
  • Generate Auto Captions
  • Edit / Fix the Captions
  • Download the .srt (subtitle file)
  • Upload the .srt file to Facebook/LinkedIn etc

I know this does add complexity and will take a little time – but this is a free option that results in reliable and workable captions for your audience.

Other “freemium” examples out there include:

Q: I’m looking at online courses but find captions distracting. Should I have the video twice?

A: If your online Learning / Course Platform doesn’t support subtitle files – I’d personally contact them and ask why!

If you can’t use captions any other way on that platform – then yes I’d advise one captioned and one not – giving your audience the choice is always the best practice for accessibility.

Don’t forget transcripts, write-ups, the audio-only version of the content to give even more choice to your audience and ensure people can access your content however they want too.


Q: What is the optimum character limit for good video captions?

A: There are definitely guidelines and rules for this at a broadcast level – BBC, ITV and Netflix are super strict on their guidelines!

But a general rule of thumb – 47 characters is the absolute maximum limit and you should aim for no more than 32 (with some slight wiggle room to not break sentences over two screens!)


Q: Is there any software that can tell you if your colours/contrast have the right ratio?

A: A really useful tool that you can also check contrast on – including colours from images is WCAG Contrast Checker.

Be careful not to get distracted by just colour contrast values – there’s different rules for different types of images and Web Contrast doesn’t always mean print contrast!


Q: When proofreading I use single quote marks for a quote etc and double quotes for speech … does that work for accessibility?

A: Yes and No!


Yes – if you are using this consistently then English speaking/reading audience will absolutely understand the context of using the quote marks that way. (assuming your audience can easily read the content!)

No – there’s no default for screen readers – some will announce the quotations, most by default will have a slight pause but give no indication to the user that it is a quote and others will ignore them completely!

For websites, blogs etc there are ways of using a BlockQuote style/tag on the text like this:

This Is A BlockQuote

On Social Media or content you have less control over – it’s worth considering the wording of alt text to describe the image post or include the relevant quote in the post text.


Q: What are your thoughts on fb stories or similar? Are these at all accessible?

A: Facebook and Instagram stories are sadly lacking Accessibility functions.

You can add alt text to normal posts but even when you share them to Stories this is stripped out and no longer accessible!

(ads, however, can be made accessible – and screen readers can read the text on ads – so hopefully this is a sign of Facebook/Instagram heading in the right direction!)



Hope that helped!

Really looking forward to chatting more about all things #accessible with you! ♿ #WeAreMINT