Online learning, whether for students or employees, provides a number of advantages, including increased accessibility. Individuals with disabilities of different types can learn effectively with appropriate and accessible video learning, and many of the same strategies can facilitate learning for English language learners, or those with varied learning styles.
What Makes Video Content Accessible
Take a moment and think about the last time you watched a video online. You likely didn’t turn on the closed captioning, pay any attention to whether keyboard shortcuts were available, and might not even know what an audio description is. Without these accessibility features, video learning can be very inaccessible–in order to use it effectively, you need to be able to see, to hear, and to have adequate mobility to move a mouse, touchpad or use a touch screen.
Fortunately, modern technology offers solutions that make video learning accessible to all learners, regardless of any visual, auditory or mobility challenges they may face. To help everyone get the most out of your video content, you need to understand how each of these accessibility features work.
- Closed captioning is the most familiar accessibility feature. Closed captioning simply produces a text version of the audio content in the video. Captions can be auto-generated, relying upon computer software, created by a human captioning services, or can be improved upon or adapted from a computer-generated caption file.
- Keyboard shortcuts enable viewers to control various functions of an HTML5 Media Player using only the keyboard. Using a mouse can require much more precise movements than controlling a keyboard; in fact, with the right software, a keyboard can be controlled by voice.
- Audio descriptions may be the most unfamiliar to many users. Audio descriptions are a secondary audio track that provides information about what’s visually on screen.
Accessibility options are wonderful for users, but how can content creators integrate these? Organizations and content creators may worry that increasing accessibility will significantly increase time or costs. In many cases, you can make your content accessible without investing a great deal of time or money.
The YuJa Enterprise Video Platform provides integrated auto-captioning with a very high degree of accuracy. To improve upon these automatically generated captions, individuals can easily manually edit captions in the Video Editor, or by downloading and editing the .SRT file. This is a quick process, and one that can facilitate correct captioning of specific terminology. Integration of fee-based human captioning services is also available.
Keyboard controls are fully integrated into YuJa’s HTML5 Media Player. They are available to all users, along with a graphic illustrating keyboard shortcuts. Users can control all of the features available in the Media Player with only their keyboards.
While both closed captioning and keyboard navigation can be hands-off for content creators, audio descriptions do require some amount of work. Depending upon the content, you may need a full-length audio description track; however, many videos will require only a brief audio description to fill in additional information.
Content creators can also make sure that they describe what’s on screen in their main audio track; this can eliminate the need for audio descriptions for individuals with vision-impairments.