What matters to you.



The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) is a national leader in making digital media accessible for people with disabilities.

Established in 1991, NCAM is a research, development and consulting group that continues a half-century of ground-breaking media accessibility work at GBH.

Accessibility Consulting Services

Making any digital service or product accessible guarantees opportunities for organizations to broaden their reach, and to impact the largest possible audience of customers and users. NCAM partners with industries that recognize the need for accessible content, interactivity, and functionality throughout all stages of the digital experience.

Accessibility means something different for each industry, organization, audience, and product. With that in mind, NCAM tailors its services to meet a broad range of trends, needs, and expectations. Simply match your goals with one or more of NCAM’s services to learn about the accessibility possibilities.

Contact us to get started.

Strategic Planning and Advising

NCAM works closely with our strategic partners to help them build internal accessibility expertise. We marry NCAM's research and development projects with the specific needs of each partner including digital television, rich media, convergent media, internet, e-commerce, e-books and other forms of media. We asked our partners to tell us why the program works for them, and how it is making a difference to their customers and employees with disabilities.


NCAM provides in-person and online training, offering a primer on how users with disabilities interact with technology and experience different media, and what it means to make that media accessible. NCAM will customize the training to your industry and your staff, vendors, clients, or user group by integrating your content and intellectual property into the training materials.


NCAM performs accessibility evaluations for websites, applications, software, hardware and all types of electronic documents for conformance with Section 508 regulations, state accessibility requirements and all levels of WCAG.

Standards and Regulations

NCAM participates in policy and standards-setting activities across a broad range of media-related areas, and has served as a technical resource to both industry and government.


CADET is free, downloadable caption-authoring software that enables anyone to produce high-quality caption files that are compatible with any media player that supports the display of captions. CADET can also be used to generate audio-description scripts.

Environmental Audio Description

Museums, theme parks, historic sites, national parks, and other locations provide environmental audio descriptions including audio described tours, events, and multimedia presentations. NCAM collaborates with clients on site visits, research, and unique delivery options.

As a content provider to academic institutions, we face an increasingly complex set of technical, legal, and instructional design considerations related to the accessibility of our content. NCAM has been indispensable in helping us understand and navigate this space.
Denis Saulnier, Managing Director, Product Design and Delivery, Higher Education unit, Harvard Business Publishing


Accessibility means something different for each industry, organization, audience, and product. With that in mind, NCAM tailors its services to meet a broad range of trends, needs, and expectations.

Making any digital service or product accessible creates opportunities for your organization to broaden its reach, impacting the largest possible audience of customers and users. NCAM has partnered with industries that have recognized the need for accessible content, interactivity, and functionality throughout all stages of their customer’s unique digital experience.

NCAM's work has impacted dozens of industries, including the following:

  • Academic publications
  • Colleges and universities
  • Electronics manufacturers
  • Technology companies
  • Online retailers
  • Media producers, providers and broadcasters
  • Local, state and government agencies
  • Software, hardware and app developers
  • Cultural institutions, amusement parks and stadiums
  • Assessment, credentialing and certification organizations
  • Law firms
  • Airlines 


The team in NCAM are inventors, implementers, and problem-solvers frequently anticipating and creating solutions for tomorrow's technology challenges.

Achievements and Standards

  • 1991-1998: Developed and released  CC School QuickCaption for Word and  QuickCaption School, captioning software for use in classrooms.
  • 1992: Launched  MoPix, a project to research and develop ways of making movies in theaters accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind, and visually impaired people through closed captions and descriptive narration.
  • 2000: Released MAGpie, the world's first free software for adding captions and audio descriptions to online multimedia.
  • 2007: Developed CCforFlash, a free Flash component to display captions in Flash video and audio content.
  • 2015: Created CC WebStreamer (aka TextStreamer) for repurposing broadcast caption data for online distribution, supporting both real-time and pre-produced captions.
  • 2016: Developed CADET, a free browser-based tool for adding captions and audio descriptions to online video and audio.

  • 2000: Created first-ever guidelines for accessible science and math educational software.
  • 2000: Founded IMS Global Learning Consortium's Accessibility Working Group which led to the creation of the  Access for All distributed learning standards.
  • 2008: Published Effective Practices for Describing Images, for creating meaningful image descriptions textbooks and online materials.
  • 2010: Co-established the DIAGRAM Center, along with Benetech and the U.S. Fund for DAISY, to research, develop and create tools, standards, guidelines and training to make it easier, cheaper, and faster to deploy accessible digital images.
  • 2012: Published Describing Images for Enhanced Assessments
  • 2012: Collaborated with IBM Research-Tokyo to research and develop methods of delivering text-based audio descriptions for online video.
  • 2012: Prototyped solutions for delivering accessible supplemental materials alongside online video.
  • 2015: Created a prototype accessible Personal Health Record system to demonstrate accessible health information technology

    Our History

    The National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) was originally founded in 1991 under its name: the Media Access Research and Development Office (MARDO), which was a pioneering facility dedicated to examining the needs and desires of audiences traditionally denied access to media in all forms. In 1993, with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), MARDO was renamed the National Center for Accessible Media, which was quickly condensed to the now-familiar acronym, NCAM (pronounced "N-CAM"). In 2006, NCAM received a major five-year gift from the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation to complement NCAM's federal, corporate and foundation support. In recognition, NCAM was renamed the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH.

    NCAM's broad mission has always been to ensure that media and all forms of electronic communication are fully accessible to people with disabilities. NCAM is an extension of WGBH's ground-breaking work in media accessibility that began in 1972 with the establishment of The Caption Center and the development of captioning for television viewers who are deaf and hard-of-hearing. In 1990, WGBH's access mission was expanded by the development of video description for television audiences who are blind and visually impaired, and the establishment of Descriptive Video Services (DVS). NCAM's work in Web accessibility stretches back to 1996, when it launched the Web Access Project, one of the first studies focusing on accessible online materials.

    NCAM influences technology development and public policy through research into effective practices; development of demonstration models, solutions and standards; and advocacy and outreach. These efforts have had a significant impact on the accessibility of Web technologies, streaming media, interactive technologies, e-book hardware and software design, distributed learning platforms, digital libraries and mobile content and devices in every conceivable environment. Read more about NCAM and GBH's major milestones in media accessibility.