Accessibility in ads

Accessible ads for the sight- and/or hearing-impaired? Yes, Yahoo! is at it again. The Accessibility team — working with Yahoo!'s designers, developers, engineers, and product managers across the globe — continues to gradually incorporate more accessibility in our network. According to Victor Tsaran, one of Yahoo!'s resident accessibility team members, ads are slowly being made accessible to both sight- and hearing-impaired users.

For the sight-impaired user, accessible display ads need to have descriptive Alt text or off-screen text added to the code. These users browse the internet with special screen reader software, which reads the content of a page aloud to them.

When Alt text is added to an advertisement, the ad will be read by the screen reader, just like the content on the page is read. This is relatively simple and can be done quite quickly (and at virtually no cost). However, the complications arise around the advertisers deciding how they want their advertisements described. And this iterative process can take time, which isn't always available.

Note: This video starts off the way a sight-impaired user would experience the ad, so the screen is black but you can hear the ad being described. After several seconds, the display will appear.

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To make ads with audio accessible for hearing-impaired users, captions need to be added so users can read what is on the audio track. Captions can be open (the captions always display) or closed (the captions can be turned on or off).

The cost for open or closed captioning varies, depending on the ad being adapted and the vendor used. National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) is a media services agency — a subsidiary of a nonprofit organization — that is our long-time partner and can help advertisers with this adaptation:

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Meanwhile, here are some recent relevant blog posts you may enjoy reading: