Accessible Design in Digital Media

Accessibility is a vital component of 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, Senior Dean, Faculty of Media & Creative Arts

About the Course

Making Accessible Media: Accessible Design in Digital 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 media.

Designed for post-secondary institutions, broadcast media professionals, and all Canadians, this fully accessible open access online course, offered in both French and English, focusses on representation of disability in media, video captioning, audio 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: Accessible Design in Digital Media is offered through Humber’s Faculty of Media & Creative Arts (FMCA) to all FMCA students, helping to shape the next generation of media makers and creative artists and performers. 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 media practices.

The course is made possible by a generous grant to the Faculty of Media & Creative Arts 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 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, begin the entry survey.

Module One — Introduction to Accessible Design in Media

  • AODA Legislation
  • Representation of Disability in Media
  • Universal and Inclusive Design
  • Language
  • 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
  • Spotlight on ReelAbilities Film Festival Toronto
  • 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 Media and Creative Arts

  • Broadcasting Accessibility Fund
  • Accessibility in Apps and Social Media
  • Accessibility Innovation in the Arts
  • Accessibility Innovation in Education
  • 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 be WCAG 2.0 compliant.
  • 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 5: use the enter key to enlarge, right and left arrow keys to navigate and escape key to exit.
  • If you experience any access barriers while navigating the course, please contact us at makingaccessiblemedia@humber.casend a mail

Interactive Accessibility Features

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
Example of the magnifier enhancing images
Text to Speech Reader play, pause and stop controls

Text to Audio Screen Reader

The Text to Audio Screen Reader will read all the text on the page along with the image descriptions.

Please note this feature is currently most compatible with the latest version of Chrome.

Example of the Text to Speech reader highlighting text

In order to use this feature:

Click on the Text to Audio Button in the tool bar on the right hand side. It will change to two different additional buttons - a Pause Button and a Stop Button.

The Text to Audio Screen Reader will read aloud any text that you highlight.

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 on your keyboard to skip ahead and the up arrow key to repeat.

Please Note: Make sure that only one webpage is open when using the Text to Audio Screen Reader. If you have more than one page open, it can confuse the reader. Also, please note that Text to Audio Screen Reader is not available on mobile devices.

Print icon


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

ASL Interpretation

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

task icon: illustration of gears in motion


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 Example of the task error message feature
Transcripts icon


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

Making Accessible Media is dedicated to Ing Wong-Ward. Rest in Power.