CBC.ca and Digital Accessibility
Digital accessibility refers to how well people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges can access our digital content. We are committed to all Canadians. Creating and maintaining digital experiences that are accessible to the widest possible audience is a priority for CBC.
New CBC.ca projects undergo assessments to ensure that they follow accessibility guidelines and best practices. We work hard to ensure that CBC.ca complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 AA (WCAG 2.0 AA), an internationally accepted standard developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
We are always looking to improve the accessibility of our digital experiences. If you have a question or comment, please use our dedicated accessibility feedback form.
Tips for Browsing on CBC.ca and Elsewhere on the Web
Some accessibility features are built into computer operating systems and web browsers. Try the following methods to simplify your web browsing experience.
Magnify the Screen
Many web browsers allow you to zoom in on web pages using simple keyboard controls. The magnifier allows you to focus on specific parts of the screen, enlarging the text and other page elements.
- For Windows operating systems, press Ctrl and + to zoom in on a web page (Ctrl and – to zoom out).
- For Mac operating systems, press Cmd and + to zoom in on a Web page (Cmd and – to zoom out).
Customize the Mouse Pointer
You can customize a computer mouse pointer in several ways. For example, you can slow down the speed of the mouse pointer for easier handling. You can also change its appearance so that it contrasts more with the screen content.
Learn how to change mouse settings for Windows operating systems:
Learn how to change mouse settings for Mac operating systems:
Make the Computer Speak Aloud
Many computers have text-reading features, but they can be limited in what they offer. For example Windows Narrator reads only menus and dialogue boxes, but not blocks of text. Windows Narrator is available in Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8.
For Microsoft Windows, software is available that offers more advanced screen-reading capabilities (both free and commercial). A popular free and open source screen reader is NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access). The two most common commercial screen readers are JAWS and Window-Eyes.
For Mac users, VoiceOver is available as a standard part of the OS X operating system.
What’s New Spring 2017
CBC strives to make digital accessibility an essential part of it’s design and development processes. We continue to iterate and improve the level of accessibility support for all digital content. The following items detail recently launched & updated audience facing properties that have been designed and developed with accessibility in mind.
CBCMusic iOS App
The iOS app for CBCMusic has been updated with improved support for VoiceOver. Button labels have improved context by pairing action verbs with the controls giving users a better indication of expected behaviour.
New Video Player
Our new media player has been built from scratch and delivers all video on cbc.ca (excluding Live Streams and watch.cbc.ca). With increased speed, mobile friendly and zero reliance on Flash, our new player supports closed captions, is keyboard operable with distinct visible state changes for all player controls.
Launch of CBC Arts & Canada 2017
Built using CBC's responsive web framework, these sites incorporate open source utilities (linting & unit tests) that analyzes code for potential accessibility problems which will prevent development staff from committing known problems to the codebase.
CBC Help Centre
Updated accessibility support for keyboard use, focus indication, help search and colour contrast
BC Votes 2017 & NS Votes 2017
A new election night dashboard have incorporated accessibility principles, including focus management, heading structure and keyboard control.
What’s New Fall 2016
Launch of CBC Watch
Keyboard accessible including visible state changes for all interactive site elements, including the video player control rack. Closed captioning and Described Video capability is built into the video player and available via the control rack when available. CC exists for the majority of CBC Watch content and we continuously add described video for as many shows as possible moving forward.
Launch of CBC Listen
Keyboard accessible interface with visible focus indication for all interactive elements. Further accessibility improvements to social sharing & playlist functionality to be incorporated into future iterations.
Leveraging the accessibility improvements that were incorporated into CBC’s 2015 Canada Votes election website, our Manitoba and Saskatchewan provincial election coverage incorporated several features that were built with accessibility in mind. Internally developed tools such as CBC’s Vote Meter (embedded on several CBCNews.ca pages during the election) and the election night dashboard both provided full keyboard interactivity with visible state changes for all interactive elements including updated election results as they were happening in realtime. CBC’s popular Vote Compass, an interactive feedback tool allowing Canadians to compare their own views to those of the major political parties, benefitted from increased accessibility support. Efforts made by CBC to improve the accessibility of Vote Compass has been recognized beyond Canadian borders. Media Access Australia, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving digital accessibility, recognized significant accessibility improvements in Vote Compass during the most recent Australian federal election.
Accessibility for the Rio Olympic Games website was achieved by working directly with the vendor to ensure basic accessibility needs were met. This was achieved by updating all interactive widgets and page templates to incorporate accessibility needs, including, full keyboard support, visible state changes for interactive elements and a keyboard accessible video player with closed captioning support for broadcast feeds.
New digital properties for Lifestyle related content and Comedy related content were recently launched with accessibility incorporated into their development as a result of leveraging accessible expertise that had already been built into beta sites for CBC News & CBC Arts.
What’s New Spring 2016
CBC Video Player
Better keyboard accessibility and clearer text and image contrasts are two improvements to the recently redesigned video player pages .
CBC News & Sports
Keyboard accessibility is enhanced on CBC News and CBC Sports websites (desktop and mobile) with improved tab order for navigation elements, page content, global footer and video playback elements (CBC Sports).
CBC beta sites
CBC Mobile Apps
CBC News and Sports apps (IOS, Android) have improved media controls (play, pause, open, close) with added content descriptions that can be read by voiceover features. The IOS apps have improved navigation controls and access to the weather feature.
CBC Radio apps (IOS, Android) have improved voiceover control. The Android app also has voice-enabled search.
What Is Web Accessibility?
The web offers an unparalleled opportunity for people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges to access information and resources. For example, people who are visually impaired can have immediate access to news articles with the help of assistive technologies such as screen readers or screen magnifiers. People with motor impairments can access a wealth of web content with an unprecedented degree of independence.
Estimates vary, but up to 20% of the Canadian population has some kind of visual, hearing, motor or cognitive challenge. Canada’s large aging population often faces similar challenges.
Web accessibility is the practice of ensuring that websites are usable by as wide an audience as possible. More specifically, accessibility ensures that people with visual, hearing, motor and cognitive challenges can understand and interact with a website and its content.
Learn More about Web Accessibility
- W3C-Web Accessibility Initiative
- The international body WC3 helps develop web accessibility guidelines, strategies and resources. The website outlines the internationally recognized web accessibility guidelines.
- Web Standards for the Government of Canada
- The Treasury Board of Canada provides guidance on web standards for websites and applications to be more accessible, usable, interoperable and optimized for mobile devices.
- The website for this non-profit organization provides resources that help explain and address web accessibility issues.