Creating accessible audio and video content has never been easier. Thankfully, many software and online tools have features which allow you to make your rich media content accessible.
Video can be a great way to get information across to constituents, whether it's highlighting an event you've done or guiding applicants through a process. When presenting video, there should always be captions to your video. Captions capture all spoken content, as well as any relevant sounds in your video as a text track which plays over the video and is timed to your video.
Two types of captions:
- Open captions are part of the video file itself and can't be turned off. This is a good option if you want to ensure that people can access the spoken content whether the platform supports closed captions or not.
- Closed captions are able to be turned on and off by the user. The captions are part of a separate caption file which has time codes to sync it to the video.
A caption file, for closed captioning, has both the words to display as well as timing for when they should appear and how long. This allows them to be synced with the video. Caption files come in multiple formats such as .srt and .vtt so when using captioning, you'll need to know what format the platform supports.
Captioning services can be purchased. For closed captioning, you would need to know what platform you plan on posting the video on because different platforms support different file formats. Alternately, captions can be done yourself using a variety of tools such as Camtasia, but should only be done after reviewing captioning requirements. 3PlayMedia's "Ultimate Guide to Closed Captioning"
Some web platforms allow you to either create or add caption files to your videos on their platforms. See Accessibility Guide Social Media for information on popular platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
Please note, auto-generated captions are not generally considered accurate enough without correction. Please see OIT "Guidelines for Accessible Recorded and Streamed Video and Audio Materials (PDF)" for more information.
If providing an audio file such as a speech or news broadcast, a transcript should accompany the audio file. On the page you can have a link to the audio file and a second link to the text transcript of the audio. The text could be a webpage, or accessible Word document.