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ADA Compliance and Accessibility: Video & Audio

Basic help and links to more information on making online instruction and resources accessible.

Captions and Transcripts

To make audiovisual and audio-only content accessible, use captions and transcripts so that information that must be heard is perceivable to everyone.

  • You must provide a visual equivalent for audio content provided by videos, podcasts, soundbites, Flash animations or other audiovisual platforms that include sound, or any similar multimedia method. Basically, any time content is presented via sound, you must add captions and/or a transcript.
  • Videos and other multimedia content should have both captions and a descriptive transcript available. This makes the content accessible to the widest number of users. Audio-only content can include only the transcript.
  • Video captions must be sychronized to the audio content in a video, have equivalent information to the audio, and be accessible to people who need to use them.
  • You can use open captions (which are always on) or closed captions (which can be turned on or off).
  • Make sure that the platform you use to present your content (Youtube, Windows Media Player, Flash, etc.) is compatible with captions.
  • In addition to spoken words, transcripts should also include any relevant descriptions or comments, such as the presence of laughter or environmental sounds.

Audio Descriptions

When presenting video content, you may need to include audio descriptions for  students who have a visual impairment. Audio descriptions describe visual information so it will be perceivable to someone who isn't able to see the video.

  • Provide audio descriptions when information in a video is not communicated by audio alone.
  • If all information that is being presented visually is presented at the same time via audio, such as reading all the points on a PowerPoint Slide, then you may not need to include audio description.
  • You may need to use audio description on only certain sections of a video, when information is presented visually with insufficient description.
  • When creating a video that will need audio description, allow natural pauses in the sound of the original video so that description can be added in later.
  • Describe all visual elements, such as on-screen action, people's appearances, body language, clothing, and on-screen text.
  • Do not interpret what is seen, only describe.
  • Don't censor content.
  • Use consistent language.
  • Record the audio track and the description separately.
  • Try to use a voice that compliments the video.
  • It is best to use a trained describer to narrate or write the script.

Helpful Websites

Need help?  Contact the VGCC Library.