Can organizations provide accessible alternatives for conditional multimedia content in DITA?

Organizations can ensure accessibility for conditional multimedia content in DITA by providing alternative versions of multimedia elements, accommodating users with disabilities. This approach involves creating alternative text descriptions, transcripts, and accessible formats for multimedia content, allowing all users to access and understand the information.

Ensuring accessibility for conditional multimedia content in DITA involves alternative text descriptions, transcripts, accessible multimedia formats, and conditional processing:

Alternative Text Descriptions:

Organizations can create alternative text descriptions for multimedia elements like images, videos, or audio files. These descriptions provide a textual representation of the content, enabling users with visual or hearing impairments to understand the multimedia’s purpose and content.


For video and audio content, providing transcripts is crucial. Transcripts are text-based versions of spoken or presented content, allowing users to read the information instead of relying on audio or video. Transcripts should include not only spoken words but also descriptions of non-verbal information.

Accessible Multimedia Formats:

Organizations should offer multimedia content in accessible formats, such as closed captions for videos, sign language interpretation for live events, or HTML5 for animations. These formats ensure that individuals using assistive technologies or screen readers can access and engage with the multimedia content.

Conditional Processing:

In DITA, organizations can use conditional processing to control the inclusion of alternative content based on accessibility conditions. For example, a DITAVAL file may define conditions for “screen-reader” or “alternative-text,” and conditional elements within DITA topics can include the relevant accessible content.


A DITA topic contains an embedded video. To provide accessible alternatives, the organization includes the following:

<startflag accessibility="screen-reader">
 <p>An alternative text description of the video content for users with screen readers.</p>
<startflag accessibility="transcript">
 <p>A transcript of the video's spoken content for users who prefer reading.</p>
<startflag accessibility="captions">
 <p>Closed captions for the video's spoken content, allowing users to read along with the audio.</p>

In the DITAVAL file, conditions are defined:

<prop action="flag" att="accessibility" val="screen-reader"/>
<prop action="flag" att="accessibility" val="transcript"/>
<prop action="flag" att="accessibility" val="captions"/>

When generating content for users with specific accessibility needs, the conditional processing ensures that the appropriate alternative content is included, making the multimedia content accessible to all users, regardless of their abilities. This approach aligns with accessibility standards and regulations, providing a more inclusive experience for all users.