Using Accessible Video and Audio

Video and audio materials rely on vision and hearing to experience them in their original form. Supplement anything that is in video format by adding captions (and audio description, if needed). Supplement anything that is presented in audio format by providing transcripts.

Media Player

Media player buttons need to be properly labeled so a screen reader user can operate the player. It is important that students can access and operate the media player with the keyboard alone (not using a mouse).

  • To test for keyboard accessibility, press the tab key to navigate to the player, and use the Tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar to interact with the media player buttons. You should be able to operate all key functions like Play, Pause, Stop, Rewind, and Fast Forward without using your mouse.

If your player is not accessible, contact Media Production & Audio Visual Services for assistance. 

Captioned Media

Video captions benefit many viewers. Captions are essential for those who are deaf and hard of hearing, but they also aid in comprehension for non-native English speakers, those who are unfamiliar with the vocabulary, and viewers with some learning disabilities. It also allows the video to be used by anyone watching in a noisy environment or anyone wanting to watch without turning the sound on to preserve a quiet environment.

Media needs to captioned at 99% accuracy to be considered accessible. We recommend you first search for captioned media. The Library has a wide selection of captioned media. Check the video databases or ask a Librarian for assistance.

Searching for Captioned Videos

If you are looking on YouTube:

  1. Enter your search keyword(s) in the YouTube Search Field.
  2. Add a: , CC (comma, CC).
  3. Press Enter or click the magnifying glass icon.

Make sure the YouTube video does not have auto-generated captions.

  1. Click the Settings button (it looks like a cog or gear in the lower right corner of the video)
  2. Check the Subtitle/CC field.
  3. Avoid videos with auto-generated subtitles and those that use the Translate feature. Neither are usually accurate.

If you are searching Google:

  1. Fill out the Advanced Video Search fields that apply.
  2. Choose the “Subtitles: Closed caption only” option.
  3. Press Enter or click the Advanced Video Search button.

Adding Captions to YouTube Videos

Videos you own in YouTube

If you want to add captions to a video that you have in your personal YouTube account, please see the Adding Captions to a YouTube Video article.

Videos you do not own in YouTube

If you want to use a YouTube video that has poor/no captions, you can use a tool called Amara to add a layer of captions over YouTube videos. Please see the Using Amara to Improve YouTube Captions article for details.

Captions for Videos You Own That are Not in YouTube

If you have media that needs captions, AND you have the copyright holder’s written permission, contact Media Production & Audio Visual Services for assistance. They can provide you with tools to get the video captioned. 

Audio Describing Videos

Captions are necessary for people who can't hear. But we have another disability to consider. Video is the mixing of images and sound. So, what about blind people who are watching your video? Do they have an opportunity to understand everything that is going on? Often some of the content is presented only as an image. Anything presented as an image that is meaningful should be described so a blind student can fully participate in the experience. When video action is described it is called audio description.

Audio descriptions can be layered on top of YouTube videos using a tool called YouDescribe. Contact Distributed Education for more information about YouDescribe and audio description. 

Audio Transcripts

Audio transcripts benefit many students. Transcripts need to be provided for any audio content, like mp3 files. They are essential for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, but they also assist everyone who would like to read or search the transcript. Transcripts need to be 99% accurate.


Article ID: 60442
Wed 8/15/18 10:30 AM
Wed 12/12/18 8:55 AM