Creating accessible video and audio content
Instructional media such as video and audio clips should be accessible. This helps to ensure that all students have the opportunity to interact with the content. There are a few steps you can follow to ensure your video or audio content is accessible for all.
Identify what important visual content will need to be described audibly (e.g. graphs, equations, images, etc.) for individuals with vision impairments.
Important on-screen text should also be described audibly for people with visual impairments; this includes names and affiliations of speakers.
Advise the speaker or presenter of the accessible presentation recommendations listed in the following Production/Recording Tips section before you begin recording.
Creating a script with all spoken content in advance is strongly recommended. This will ensure the content has been fully covered and all images, equations, graphics etc. are properly described. A script can also help speed up the captioning process in post-production. The script will also allow you to ensure that you stay on topic and that the content is delivered at an appropriate level of complexity for your target audience.
Speakers should be introduced or state their name and title/affiliation audibly, the first time they speak.
Narrate any important visuals, such as graphs, equations, or images that need to be conveyed for the listener to fully understand the content.
Be specific when talking about visuals on the screen. If the speaker uses location references like “here” or “there”, they should also include a description of the item they are referencing.
Don’t say: “This part over here represents the slope of a line.”
Do say: “In this equation, "y equals mx plus b" represents the slope of a line."
Video captions provide a text equivalent to the spoken audio in real-time during videos, making them accessible to individuals with hearing disabilities. Captions can also help English language learners better understand your content and can be used by students as a learning tool for jargon and subject specific terminology in academic video content.
Per our accessibility guidelines, captions are required for all instructional video content. Broadly, captioning videos can be done by the creator or by an external captioning service. The Office of Digital Learnings’ Instructional Design and Educational Technology group provides captioning services for instructional video content. For more about the captioning options available to faculty, see our captioning resources page.
If you are adding text or graphics to your video, ensure that the color contrast for text meets minimum standards. To check contrast, use the Color Contrast Analyzer software (for images) or the WebAIM contrast checker web page (for hexadecimal color codes).
Additionally, make sure your video does not contain any rapidly blinking or strobing effects that could trigger seizures in individuals with photosensitive epilepsy.
Transcripts and summaries
Transcripts are a great resource for individuals with hearing or vision impairments. They are simply a text version of the content’s audio and can be easily read by a user or screen reader. Transcripts are required for all audio content and they can be a nice addition for video. Video content must be captioned, and transcripts should not be used to replace captions for video content.
Office of Digital Learnings’ Instructional Design and Educational Technology group provides transcription for instructional audio content. Faculty can request transcripts by emailing email@example.com.
If your video has no audio or there is visual-only content that was not properly narrated, create a written summary of the content so that those with vision impairments can understand the content. When embedding the video in WebCampus, you can include the summary next to or before the video.
Audio descriptions for video
Audio descriptions are a way to ensure that individuals with vision impairments can fully access video content. Audio description consists of a secondary audio track (either recorded by a person or created by running text-to-speech software on a timed text file) that describes any meaningful visual content during the gaps in the video's audio content. Audio descriptions should generally be created by someone with experience, and there are a number of vendors who can provide this service for live and pre-recorded material.
Producing audio descriptions is not always necessary, however. If the video is created in a way that all important visual information is also provided audibly, the audio description will be "baked" into the original content and doesn't need to be added after the fact.
Examples of how to convey visual content audibly in the original audio include:
- If a graph or figure is shown, explain out loud what the graph is measuring and what the results are.
- Read or summarize information on the screen; Don’t tell the viewer that you will give them a moment to read something on the screen.
- Introduce any speakers or interviewees the first time they appear or speak. Do not rely solely on graphics to convey this information.