digital accessibility


Europe is a real driving force in protecting citizens’ rights and improving their daily lives. This is all the more true when it comes to citizens with disabilities. Europe wants to promote the concept of accessibility for them.

Beware, however, of shortcuts, as the combination of the notions of accessibility and disability often brings us back in the first place to the question of wheelchair accessibility. But the motor handicap is only a tiny part of this European commitment. People who are deaf and hard of hearing are not immune to this legitimate desire for accessibility and, in particular, digital accessibility.

Digital accessibility application in Europe and in the UK

Some definitions:

The Accessibility directive adopted on 26 October 2016 defines digital accessibility as « all principles and techniques to be observed when designing, constructing, maintaining, and updating websites and mobile applications in order to make them more accessible to users, in particular persons with disabilities. ».

It provides, among other things, that public services must provide a « detailed, complete and clear accessibility declaration ». A « feedback mechanism » should be set up to enable any person to notify the public sector body concerned of any failures of the website or mobile applications to comply with the accessibility requirements.

The notion of disability is widely understood, referring here to all disabilities that may affect access to the web, and concerns in particular hearing and neurological disabilities.

Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web said that: The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.

Indeed, as soon as a person suffers from such a disability, he or she encounters difficulties in the use of certain everyday devices, and in particular the Internet. Today, digital technology is part of everyone’s daily life, whether in their personal or professional lives. The fight against exclusion therefore implies the apprehension of people with disabilities.

As the UK is still part of the EU by this date, it also means that UK public sector organisations should adopt the new directive. Using existing guidelines which form part of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), members should ensure that as much content as possible is accessible to all users of desktop and mobile devices, including website and app content respectively.

Important Dates

digital accessibiliy directive in UK

The Web Accessibility Directive is on its way.

Subtitling, a response to the challenge of digital accessibility

As we have seen, digital accessibility has become a major issue, the Internet must be accessible to all. Subtitling then appears as one of the solutions put in place to meet this objective. Note that there are two types of subtitling:

  • External subtitling: It is known as .srt or.ass format and is independent of the video. It can therefore easily be modified via software such as SublimeText, and integrated into video players. The .srt file is also accepted by platforms such as YouTube or Vimeo.

  • Embedded subtitling: It is integrated directly into the video. It cannot therefore be modified or added separately.

Subtitling therefore meets this objective of digital accessibility because it allows people with hearing loss to have access to audio and video content. As a reminder, this population represents about 9 million people in the UK and 466 million worldwide (more than 5% of the world population).

The Authôt solution for transcription and subtitling

Authôt, is a French start-up specialized in these digital accessibility issues. Indeed, our automatic and manual transcription solution allows you to transform audio into text and obtain subtitles in one click! Today, many customers in all sectors use our subtitling service: Condé Nast for Media, FUN for Education and MOOCs etc.

Authôt technology works on a multi-speaker speech recognition system. Authôt takes care of your audio or video file to provide you with the script and subtitles for external subtitling. But also offers you to burn subtitles to your videos, in the font and format you want. Thus your videos posted on social networks or websites, as well as MOOCs meet digital accessibility standards.

Finally, we participate in many french social and volunteer projects to improve the daily lives of deaf and hard of hearing people. Whether it is with La Brèche TV, or the BrailleNet association.


Authôt. You speak. We write