Checkpoint 7.2.1 Audio Description Playback

Where ICT displays video with synchronized audio, it shall provide a mechanism to select and play available audio description to the default audio channel.


The European standard specifies requirements for audio description processing technologies. These need only be addressed for software applications that are media players or contain embedded players. Other applications should mark this N/A (not applicable).

Where video technologies do not have explicit and separate mechanisms for audio description, an ICT is deemed to satisfy this requirement if the ICT enables the user to select and play several audio tracks, one of which provides audio descriptions in addition to other audio content.

Refer to Requirement 7.2.1: Audio Description Playback for more information (external link to EN 301 549 toolkit).

Note: 1.2.5 Audio Descriptions requires that audio descriptions are provided. That checkpoint stipulates that when creating content, the author must ensure meaningful video content has been described and is captured in a format that can be used to provide synchronized audio descriptions. Those requirements, covering the content of the audio descriptions, are complementary to chapter 7 of EN 301 594, which covers the actual delivery of audio descriptions during playback, and the controls for turning audio descriptions on and off provided by the media player.

Note to IBM teams: The IBM compliance reporting system will be able to convey compliance status with European EN 301 549/Mandate 376: Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe. Revised Section 508 checkpoints cover most of the EN 301 549 requirements. However, this is one of several additional checkpoints that will need to be completed to fully report compliance with the European standard.

Development Techniques

Note: Review the General techniques as well as other tabs applicable to your technology.  Prioritize the use of technology-specific techniques, and implement the General techniques as needed. You are always required to find, understand and implement accessible code techniques to meet the checkpoint. The documented techniques and supplements are not exhaustive; they illustrate acceptable ways to achieve the spirit of the checkpoint. If numbered, techniques are in order of preference, with recommended techniques listed first.

General techniques

Any item in this section represents a technique considered sufficient.

Note: For compliance reporting, where the requirements of 7.3 User Controls for Captions and Audio Description are met, 7.2.1 can also be considered to be met. 7.3 requires that the controls for audio description be at the same level of interaction as the primary media controls.

Providing user controls to activate audio descriptions

Although the wording of 7.2.1 specifies a mechanism that plays audio descriptions using the default audio channel, it also contains provisions for allowing the selection of alternative audio tracks, thus providing the ability to provide audio descriptions in the same manner that alternative language tracks can be provided.

Mobile Native (iOS) techniques

There are no specific Mobile Native techniques for this checkpoint. Refer to the General techniques section.

Eclipse techniques

There are no specific Eclipse techniques for this checkpoint. Refer to the General techniques section.

Windows-based (MSAA+IA2) techniques

There are no specific Windows-based (MSAA+IA2) techniques for this checkpoint. Refer to the General techniques section.

Many links in this checklist reside outside at the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. W3C Recommendation 05 June 2018:

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