Accessibility tips for Zoom

Zoom is a technology used for virtual instruction, meetings, and real-time collaboration. Zoom provides captioning and transcription functionality to ensure students with hearing impairments can participate equally. The information presented here presents technical options for Zoom to promote accessible virtual instruction.

Zoom live captions

This new feature allows you to enable automated live captions on your Zoom meetings. Zoom has partnered with to provide built-in, automatic captioning capability. Once enabled, students can toggle any combination of captions and a live transcript on or off as needed. These captions/transcripts can also be saved at the end of the Zoom meeting. More information about how to enable live captions in Zoom and the associated options can be found on our website.

Zoom cloud recording

Use Zoom cloud recording to ensure your recording has automatically created captions and a searchable transcript. While these computer-generated captions are not perfect, they are automatically generated so they require minimal effort to provide them for your students. If you have students with hearing impairments that require more accurate captions, please contact with your course and video information for assistance.

Keyboard shortcuts

Zoom supports keyboard shortcuts which are extremely useful for nonvisual users or those who cannot use a mouse. We strongly recommend sharing these with your students.

Verbal descriptions and screen sharing

Zoom screen sharing activities, such as showing PowerPoint slides and other visual class materials should be described verbally to help anyone with a vision impairment or learning disability, as well as those who are calling in to your Zoom session by phone.

Examples of how to effectively convey visual content verbally 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.

Additionally, it is a good practice to share the materials ahead of time wherever possible. Posting accessible PowerPoint files and other materials to your WebCampus course before the lecture allows students to follow along in a way that is most beneficial to them.

Managing the Zoom chat

Zoom chat can be made more accessible by reading out the student questions and answering them verbally. Links posted in the chat should also be relayed in a separate email before or after the meeting to ensure that those links do not get overlooked by screen reader technology. If desired, a text file the chat log can be shared after the meeting as well.

ASL interpretation

Zoom provides mechanisms for an ASL translator’s video to be featured at all times on the screen. Students may choose to “pin” the translators’ video in their view (is only featured for that student), or the meeting host can “spotlight” the translator’s video. Spotlighting locks up to 9 video views on the screen at all times, and does not permit students to see that standard gallery view.