Annual Report of the Information Commissioner 2016

Multimedia, Images and Colour

Key guidance when using multimedia is as follows:

Use your design to enhance information, not distract from it

Use features such as animation and video to add to your content, rather than to distract from it.

Ensure multimedia is inclusive

Ensure multimedia does not exclude information from those who cannot see, hear or play it.

  • The use of video players to play multimedia content should be avoided. All video content should use HTML5 to play MP4 or OGG content.
  • For embedded multimedia, supply a link to a standalone version.
  • Provide controls to skip, pause or stop the presentation.
  • Offer different download sizes. Information on the file size should be included on the page.
  • Provide captions for multimedia, so that it can be understood by all members of the public regardless of the volume the multimedia is played at. This is an important consideration as one in seven of members of the public have hearing difficulties.
  • Where captions are not provided, provide transcripts for the multimedia. This can be provided either on the same page or as a link to a transcript on a different page.

Learn more

Find more information on deafness by reading the DeafHear factsheet.

Avoid content that flashes more than three times per second

High flash content may cause seizures among some people.


Some key guidance when using images includes:

  • When uploading an image or graph, supply the same information through Alt Text.
  • Avoid text within images.


Create good contrast between text and background

The contrast between the text and the background affects how easy it is to read information.

Key guidance on colour contrast is as follows:

  • Make sure there is strong contrast between the text and the background colour.
  • If using white text, make sure the background colour is dark enough to provide sufficient contrast. Contrast is best when using very dark colours together with very light colours.
  • Avoid combining yellow and blue, and green and red, as these are difficult for people with colour blindness to distinguish.
  • Pale text on a dark background typically makes text look smaller, so you may need to increase the size and weight of the text to make it easier to read.
  • Avoid placing text in front of an image or patterned background, as this makes it more difficult to read.


Print your page in greyscale. This will help identify if you have sufficient contrast.


Use a contrast analyser to ensure there is enough contrast between the foreground and background colours. WebAim provide a online colour contrast analyser which also gives guidance on the contrast ratio for normal and for large text.

Customer Communications Toolkit for the Public Service – A Universal Design Approach

Digital and Web Based Communication Systems and Services

Multimedia Checklist

Images Checklist

Colour Checklist

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