Captioning on the Internet

The NAD strongly advocates for captioning of all audio and audiovisual information and material, regardless of distribution method.

The Internet is the new frontier for captioning. Like television programs and movies 25 years ago, video programs on the Internet are generally not accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people. The NAD believes that, just as television programs and movies have been made accessible through captioning, so will Internet video programs be made accessible through captioning. This transformation will not happen overnight, but it has begun.

New technologies and programs are being developed to make it easier to provide captions on the Internet. A number of corporations have agreed to adopt the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium. This Web Accessibility Initiative establishes guidelines for making websites accessible, including providing captioning. AOL, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! worked with WGBH/Boston and the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media to establish an Internet Captioning Forum to address the technical challenges of providing captioning online for redistributed programming and new programming.

Consumers can also advocate for increased captioning on the Internet. The NAD encourages people to contact government agencies and businesses that have audio or audiovisual material on their websites without captions and ask them to provide captions. Contact companies that have websites where you can download television programs and movies from the Internet and ask them to provide captions.

Together, we can make the Internet a more accessible place for deaf and hard of hearing people.