Accessible Design in Broadcast Media

Accessibility is a vital component of broadcast media, and our students will have the opportunity to both solve existing inclusivity problems and to include accessibility features from the first moment of creation.

— Guillermo Acosta, Dean, School of Media Studies & Information Technology

About the Course

Making Accessible Media: Inclusive and Accessible Design in Broadcast Media is a course of study from Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning designed to educate Canadians on the importance and relevance of inclusive design and accessibility in broadcast media.

Designed for broadcast media professionals, other post-secondary institutions, and all Canadians, this fully accessible open source online course, offered in French and English, will focus on representation of disability in broadcast media, captioning, transcription, described video and live captioning for broadcast, alternative text for image description and tutorials on how to make accessible documents and presentations.

Making Accessible Media: Inclusive and Accessible Design in Broadcast Media will be also be offered through Humber’s School of Media Studies & Information Technology to all Media Studies students beginning in September 2017 and will help shape the next generation of broadcast experts. While this course offers practical insight into how to make media accessible in the final stages of production, it also reminds that accessibility should not be an afterthought but part of the initial development process. One of the mandates of this course is to raise awareness of the systemic, attitudinal, physical, information and technological barriers that interrupt accessibility in current broadcast media practices.

The course is made possible by a generous grant to the School of Media Studies and Information Technology at Humber from The Broadcasting Accessibility Fund, which supports innovative projects providing solutions to promote the accessibility of all broadcasting content in Canada.

As part of this course, we will be measuring possible attitudinal change towards accessibility in broadcast media. There is an entry survey here and an exit survey at the end of Module 6. These anonymous online surveys will serve as data for further development of accessible and inclusive courses, for presentations at conferences and sharing with other educational institutions.

If you wish to participate in this research, please click here for the entry survey.

Module One — Introduction to Accessible Design in Broadcast Media

  • AODA Legislation
  • Representation of Disability in Media
  • Universal and Inclusive Design
  • Language
  • Media Models of Disability
  • Profile of Ing Wong-Ward

Module Two — Creating Accessible Audio Content

  • Manual Transcription
  • Tips for Transcribing
  • Transcription Software
  • American Sign Language and Quebec Sign Language
  • Using Transcripts and ASL at the CBC
  • WNPR’s ASL Radio
  • Profile of Jeff Kofman
  • Transcription and Captioning at Humber College

Module Three — Captions for Video and Live Events

  • Captioned Video
  • Tips for Captioning Video
  • Video Captioning Format and Grammar
  • Video Captioning Tools and Software
  • Captions for Live Broadcast
  • Examining Accessibility at TIFF
  • Profile of Ai-Media

Module Four — Creating Described Video for Broadcast Media

  • Described Video
  • Spotlight on Descriptive Video Works
  • Profile on Accessible Media Inc.
  • Integrated Described Video
  • Described Video Standards in Canada
  • Live Description
  • Extended Audio Description

Module Five — Designing Inclusive Images and Words

  • Writing in Plain Language
  • Access Signs and Symbols
  • Braille
  • Profile of Photographer Steve Kean
  • Alternative Text and Screen Readers
  • Designing Accessible Documents and Presentations

Module Six — Accessibility Innovation in Broadcast Media

  • Broadcasting Accessibility Fund
  • Broadcast and Beyond
  • Lights, Camera, Access! Representing Disability in Broadcast Media
  • Choosing Inclusive Language and Style Guide
  • Making Accessible Media: Documenting Our Process


This course will follow the Ontario Human Rights Commission and use person-first language. The terms “person with a disability”, “persons with disabilities” and “people with disabilities” will be used in order to put the person before the disability. We acknowledge the use of identity-first language and note that some people prefer to use the term “disabled people”. It is important to remember that self-identification is key.

Language is constantly shifting and changing over time, and different individuals and groups have different beliefs on what language should be used. These conversations are still actively happening. Media practitioners and communicators in general ideally strive to use the most accurate and current terminology. Media makers are urged to engage in an ongoing process that thoughtfully evaluates language and avoids inaccurate, archaic and offensive expressions that perpetuate negative, limiting stereotypes.

Accessibility Design Notes

In addition to teaching how to make media more accessible, the course includes a number of accessibility features.

  • We have incorporated a combination of audio, video, words and images to appeal to a broad range of users. The website is designed to WCAG 2.0 standards.
  • The course has been written in plain language although we recognize that there is some specific terminology used that may not be considered plain language.
  • We acknowledge that some tasks and exercises may not be accessible to everyone.
  • All video material is captioned. For some of the videos, you have to turn the captions on by clicking on the CC button on the player. It is important to note that you can only transcribe and caption video that you have made. It is copyright infringement to transcribe and caption other videos without permission from the owner of the video.
  • If using keyboard controls, please note when navigating the main menu, you must double click the tab key to move from module to module.
  • If using keyboard controls to navigate the image slideshow in module five: use the enter key to enlarge, right and left arrow keys to navigate and escape key to exit.

Interactive Accessibility Features

Image: Magnifier on and off icons


The Magnifier button allows the user to magnify text and images on a page. To magnify, click on the Magnifier button and move your mouse over the content you would like to enlarge. To stop the magnifier, click on the button again.

Please note: the magnifier is not available on mobile devices.

Example of the magnifier enhancing text

Image: Example of the magnifier enhancing text

Example of the magnifier enhancing images

Image: Example of the magnifier enhancing images

Text to Speech Reader play, pause and stop controls

Image: Text to Audio Screen Reader play, pause and stop controls

Text to Audio Screen Reader

The Text to Audio Screen reader will highlight and read all the text on a page to you. In addition to the text on a page, the Text to Audio Screen reader will also read the descriptions of the images on a page. Please note that currently this feature is most compatible with the latest version of Chrome.

In order to use this feature, click on the Text to Audio Button in the tool bar. Once you click the Text to Audio Button it will change to two different additional buttons - a Pause Button and a Stop Button. Click the Pause Button to pause the audio. Once the Pause Button is clicked, it will change to a Play Button. To resume the audio, click the Play Button. Click the Stop Button to disable the Text to Audio Screen reader. Use the down arrow key to skip ahead. Use the up arrow key to repeat.

Example of the Text to Speech reader highlighting text

Image: Example of the Text to Audio Screen Reader highlighting text

The Text to Audio Screen Reader is also keyboard accessible. If using your keyboard:

Start & Stop = 1

Pause = 2

Repeat = ↑

Skip = ↓

Please Note: Make sure that when using the Text to Audio Screen reader, you only have one webpage of Blackboard/the course open in your browser. If you have more than one page open, it will confuse the reader. Also, please note that Text to Audio Screen reader is not available on mobile devices.

Image: Print icons


The Print button allows the user to print the current page in the module. Click on the Printer button to print the current page.

asl interpretation icon

Image: asl interpretation icon

ASL Interpretation

For all the video content that we produced, we have included an ASL interpretation.

illustration of gears in motion

Image: task icon


We have created a variety of exercises to help test your knowledge. These exercises are all keyboard accessible. The multiple choice checkboxes have been designed so that the entire sentence is clickable, rather than the just the small box. We have also avoided the use of pop-up windows.

Example of the task checkbox feature

Image: Example of the task checkbox feature

Example of the task error message feature

Image: Example of the task error message feature

Transcripts icon

Image: Transcripts icon


Clicking the “transcript” button will open an accessible PDF in a new window that you can print or download.