If you’ve been keeping up with our YouTube channel or following us on Instagram, you’ve probably seen some of the animated videos we’ve created on various web-related topics! Animation is a captivating and powerful medium that has become a significant part of our education landscape. However, to truly harness the potential of animation, it is crucial to ensure that it is accessible to individuals of all abilities.

Animation, with its visual and auditory nature, can present unique challenges. As we continue to produce more animated videos, we’ve come to realize the importance of developing a stronger understanding of accessibility in animation. Our goal is to ensure that everyone can fully enjoy and engage with animated content. In this article, we’ll be sharing some of our learnings, so that YOU can also create inclusive animations!

Visual Accessibility

Here are some key considerations for ensuring visual accessibility in animation:

  • Include Audio Descriptions: Audio descriptions are separate audio tracks containing speech that describes the action, characters, and scenes of a video. Adding audio descriptions enables individuals who are blind or have visual impairments to comprehend the visual aspects of the animation.
  • Ensure Sufficient Colour Contrast: Use colour combinations that offer enough contrast to make the visual elements easily distinguishable. This helps individuals with colour blindness or low vision to perceive the animation clearly. You can use AIM’s Contrast Checker to determine if your animations have sufficient colour contrast.
  • Design Clear and Readable Text: If there’s text in your animated video, make sure to use legible fonts, appropriate font sizes, and ample spacing between lines and paragraphs. This makes the text content accessible to individuals with visual impairments or reading difficulties.

Auditory Accessibility

Audio plays a vital role in conveying emotions, dialogue, and sound effects in animations. However, individuals with hearing impairments or those who are deaf may struggle to fully comprehend the auditory elements. To address this, it is essential to include accurate closed captions or subtitles that effectively represent the dialogue and sound effects. These captions should be synchronized with the animation and presented in a clear and easily readable format, ensuring accessibility for all viewers. To learn more about the differencen between captions and subtitles and why we use them, check out our blogpost titled Captivating Captions: Why We Use Captions on Video. Additionally, we have a great tutorial on Generating Transcripts and Closed Captioning from YouTube Videos.

Cognitive Accessibility

Here are some key considerations for ensuring cognitive accessibility in animation:

  • Employ clear and concise narratives: Minimize cognitive load by clearly communicating using plain language, and using logical progression to guide viewers through the animation. As well, it’s helpful to repeat important information or key points throughout the video to reinforce understanding.
  • Avoid excessive visual clutter: Ensure that the visual elements in the animation are clear and easy to comprehend. Use simple and recognizable visuals, avoiding clutter or overwhelming details that could confuse or distract viewers with cognitive disabilities.
  • Avoid Rapid Visual Changes or Flashing Effects: Rapid changes in visuals or excessive flashing can trigger epilepsy and migraines in susceptible individuals. Your animation should be free of any any element that flashes more than three times per second.
  • Optimize Timing and Pace: Overly fast-paced animation can be challenging for individuals with cognitive disabilities or processing difficulties. Provide sufficient time for viewers to read and process on-screen text or important visual information.
  • Consistency and Predictability: Maintain consistency in the visual and auditory cues throughout the animation. Establish predictable patterns and sequences to help individuals with cognitive impairments anticipate and understand the content better.

Media Player and Assistive Technologies

  • Captions and audio description support: The video player should have the capability to display captions and support audio description tracks. This ensures that individuals with hearing impairments or those who benefit from additional audio narration can access the content effectively.
  • Keyboard accessibility and labeled controls: The video player’s controls, including captions, audio description, and setup menu, should be accessible via keyboard commands. It should be possible to toggle captions and audio description on/off without relying on a mouse. Additionally, all buttons and controls should be properly labeled, allowing keyboard-only users to navigate the player easily.
  • Adjustable subtitle display parameters: The video player should offer options to modify the display parameters of subtitles. Users should be able to adjust the size of the text and customize the colors of the text and background. This flexibility accommodates individual preferences and enhances readability for users with visual impairments or specific needs.
  • User control over video playback: Avoid autoplay functionality for videos, as it can interfere with assistive technologies like screen readers. Users should have full control over starting and stopping video playback, enabling them to synchronize the content with assistive technologies or their personal preferences.


Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

A11y Guidelines: Accessibility of Video, Animation, and Audio Content

Microsoft: Accessible Animation Video

SitePoint: 8 Steps to Creating Accessible Video