Standard Operating Procedures for Creating Accessible Audio/Visual Media


Created and shared by the DOI Office of the Chief Information Officer, the Standard Operating Procedures for Creating Accessible Audio/Visual Media provide NPS personnel with the necessary information to comply with the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Standards and Guidelines (36 CFR Part 1194).

On January 18, 2017, revised ICT standards and guidelines were published (i.e. 508 Standards ICT Refresh or Final Rule), updating ICT accessibility requirements, covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Section 255 of the Communications Act of 1934.  Beginning January 18, 2018, federal agencies and contractors must comply with the updated 508 Standards.

Audio/visual media includes two or more media types such as video, audio, and animation.  Examples of audio/visual media include, but are not limited to:

  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Webcasts
  • Online training presentations

For audio/visual media to be accessible to a viewer, the person watching it must be able to understand what is happening in both the visual and audio portions.  Well-produced audio/visual media ensures that a person can completely understand the message, no matter his or her disability. If your audience is not able to understand either the visual or audio pieces, you cannot deliver your message successfully.

Why It Matters

The Department of the Interior (DOI) strives to ensure that all Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is accessible to all, including individuals with disabilities. Audio/visual media is a type of ICT that must be accessible pursuant to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d) and Departmental Manual Section 375 DM 8, Section 508 Program and Responsibilities.

In accordance with Section 508, Federal employees and members of the public with disabilities must have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to other Federal employees and individuals without disabilities.

What You’ll Find

The Standard Operating Procedures for Creating Accessible Audio/Visual Media establish the required elements of accessible audio/visual media and answer the following questions:

  1. What are captions?
  2. What’s the difference between closed and open captions?
  3. How are captions created?
  4. How do I format my videos?
  5. What accessibility responsibilities am I held accountable for if I have audio-only content?
  6. What is audio description?
  7. How is audio description created?
  8. What are the best practices for audio description?
  9. What is an accessible video player?
  10. What guidance is available for audio/visual media included in Information Kiosks?

Additional Information

An alternate version (Word document) of the Standard Operating Procedures is also available.

Please note: audio/visual media should be maintained in accordance with the appropriate Departmental or bureau Records Schedule.  For more information, contact your bureau Records Officer.

Additionally, join the Accessibility and Section 508 Workgroup in the Commons to ask questions, share resources, and connect with experts and colleagues working in this field!


Questions regarding these Standard Operating Procedures, including access to links, should be directed to section508@ios.doi.gov.

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