Zoom and accessibility

Zoom, a web conferencing system with full audio, video and sharing capabilities, is compliant (with some exceptions, see below) with the WCAG 2.1 AA Standards, Revised Section 508 Standards. Zoom designs, develops and tests their products with accessibility in mind. Check out the Zoom accessibility FAQ for specific questions and answers related to accessibility.

University of Montana has an enterprise agreement for Zoom conferencing services. Zoom can be used by faculty, staff and students. UM members only need an account when they are hosting a meeting or teaching an online course, for example. Attendees do not need an account to participate in a Zoom session. 

Accessibility features include:

  • Closed Captioning: Capture every word said with closed captioning. Zoom integrates with 3rd party closed captioning providers.
  • Automatic Transcripts: Transcripts are automatically generated and synchronized (when saving your recording to the cloud).
  • Keyboard Accessibility: Workflows can be accomplished using Zoom supported keyboard shortcuts for easy navigation of Zoom features.
  • Screen Reader Support: Zoom can be used without a screen. Zoom follows the latest accessibility standards to ensure that the product is fully accessible to the latest screen readers.

Accessibility barriers include:

  • For annotating items, please verbally describe what is being annotated.
  • For keyboard only or screen reader users, limit white board use by students.
  • When screen sharing, please verbally describe what is on the screen (include slide numbers if a presentation).
    • Also share a link if presenting a web page or an accessible version of the file you are sharing.

All media resources used more than once in University programs and activities—whether they are instructional, informational, marketing, or promotional—must be accessible.  All media resources shared on UM websites must have closed-captioning for videos and, soon, audio descriptions. Audio resources must be transcribed. When using Zoom to record meetings, lectures, or other activities that will be shared with others online, the host or organizer must save their recording(s) as follows:

  • There are two options for saving Zoom meetings/lectures: desktop or cloud.
  • If an instructor saves their lecture to the cloud, a transcript will be created and captioning will be applied.
  • Within a few hours the instructor will receive an email message from Zoom informing them that the recording is now available for download/viewing/editing/saving.
  • IMPORTANT: Good quality audio helps ensure accurate transcripts.It is recommended that the instructor reviews the recording/transcript for accuracy as sometimes the audio quality hinders this. When the instructor corrects the transcript, this will also correct the captions.
  • Initially, saving a lecture/meeting to the desktop will not result with a transcript or captioning applied.
  • Zoom has excellent training materials:  Automatically Transcribe Cloud Recordings.

We currently recommend using Zoom for temporary lecture capture. For permanent lecture capture, Accessible Technology Services (ATS) can assist with producing captioning that meets DCMP guidelines and UM quality control. Fill out the captioning request form to request captioning for lectures/videos.

 Questions about Zoom and accessibility may be directed to ats@umontana.edu


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Article ID: 100749
Wed 3/11/20 12:10 PM
Wed 3/8/23 3:27 PM

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University of Montana has an enterprise agreement for Zoom Technologies, a cloud-based product that provides remote conferencing, meeting and chat services.