To meet the needs of a diverse audience, video content needs to be accessible to users with a variety of different needs and abilities. With regard to video content, accessibility issues are predominantly focused on visual and auditory supports. Captioning and description technologies can make video learning more available for students with visual or hearing impairments.

Captioning for Accessibility

For individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing, closed captioning technology makes video learning accessible. In addition, closed captioning may be helpful for students with auditory processing disorders and English language learners. There are several options available for closed captioning.

While closed captioning makes videos more accessible to users, instructors and creators can increase the overall quality of captioning. When recording video content, choose a good-quality USB microphone. Take the time to test the microphone and choose the best distance and volume for recording. Be certain to speak clearly. Pace your speech appropriately; pause for punctuation. This can help improve the quality and accuracy of captioning, especially if you’re relying upon auto-captioning.

  • Auto-captioning technology provides a computer-generated caption file. Auto-captioning is highly effective, but is less likely to accurately capture accurate or technical terminology.
  • Auto-caption files can be downloaded and edited for accuracy. This is an effective way to maximize caption accuracy while limiting costs.
  • Human captioning services offer top-quality captioning to support students with disabilities.

Audio Descriptions for Accessibility

Audio descriptions provide additional information for students who cannot clearly see on-screen content. These are not designed to fill in or explain content discussed out loud in the standard audio track, but rather to provide an additional description to support content referred to, but not explained in the standard audio track.

Description technology enables the addition of a second audio track to video content. This second audio track provides the ability to incorporate audio descriptions of on-screen content. Users can toggle between different tracks.

  • Create a short description track to provide a description of visual content; tracks can be timed to fit in where needed in the video.
  • Provide an alternate track incorporating both the standard audio content and the necessary descriptions using the same audio description upload options.

Screen Readers and Other Options

Modern technology has maximized accessibility of online resources for students with disabilities. Many students rely upon additional technology to facilitate their use of online resources, including screen readers. Screen readers read screen content to student with visual impairments, or translate text into Braille. The ability to highlight text for use with a screen reader is helpful for students relying upon readers.

For students with physical disabilities, the ability to use keyboard shortcuts can be a helpful way to navigate online content. Facilitating keyboard shortcuts through the use of an HTML5 media player is an effective way to increase accessibility.