Web accessibility is already a hot topic among content producers and online businesses. This is because of the constant calls for diversity and inclusivity in our workplace, commercials, and the content we produce. 

As a result, guidelines, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the A11Y, have been developed to spearhead accessibility. Governments, too, have jumped in with laws and regulations to maintain accessibility standards. 

Since videos are already the number one content on the web, content producers can no longer overlook designing videos that every person can view or understand. 

The major benefit of creating accessible videos is that anyone, including those using assistive technology, can view such videos. Accessible videos are also useful when the video uploaded is blurred or unable to load properly because of factors beyond the creator’s control (e.g., viewers having poor equipment).

In this post, we will take you through the strategies you can use to make your videos accessible for every viewer.

How to Design Videos that are Accessible to Everyone

Provide a transcript

One way to make your videos accessible to everyone is to provide users a transcript of your video. Such a text version of your video includes what was spoken, plus the description of the actions that took place.

You may create a transcript using a transcribing service, reusing your captions, or speech recognition software such that those using assisted tech like screen readers can use transcribed documents to understand your content. 

Transcribed documents can also be posted on a blog to accompany the video. Since search engines can index them, you can use these texts to target readers who prefer to read and not watch the video or supplement the videos on your eLearning course.

To transcribe videos, use tools like InqScribeand and Designrr. While doing so, remember to delete stutters unless they help in understanding the message.

Use a compatible format

As technology continues to evolve, new UX/UI standards are being implemented to meet users’ demands. For example, if your video works only on the flash player, most users won’t see it as most browsers no longer support flash player. 

Alternatively, standards such as WCAG and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) call for content producers to practice and make accessibility a priority in content production. Content producers then need to ensure their videos comply with these standards to improve viewership. 

Add captions

Research done on the benefits of captions shows they contribute immensely to the success of a video. Captions can increase view time, attract more views, and are convenient for non-natives.

Besides, they are not only ideal for those hard of hearing but also for viewers living in an environment where they can’t listen to your videos properly (e.g., in a noisy background). 

Captions are easy to use since they are embedded in the video and can help improve your video ranking as search engines can scroll the text file. To make good use of captions, use them in multiple languages and make them appear simultaneously with the sound. Let’s check out the example below of a video showing the use of captions. 

Source

Make video compatible with all media players

Do you know some video players can’t play captions nor audio descriptions? And others contain keyboard traps? This can be very distracting for people who are hard of hearing and sight.

When creating a video, ensure you note these factors and that your videos can play on most video players. Otherwise, when viewers encounter such problems, they won’t subscribe to your videos again, resulting in a loss in viewership and subsequently revenue. 

Avoid auto-play

Auto-play is a tricky component in video production. While many content producers have discussed its benefits, it can still be annoying to viewers, and most viewers would turn them off, especially if the content is irrelevant.

To individuals or viewers with cognitive disabilities, auto-play leads to accessibility failure as it makes a site unusable such that they may find interpreting the content a challenge. 

Viewers using text-to-screen readers may have a challenge understanding the message as auto-play may conflict with screen readers. To avoid an accessibility failure, avoid auto-play entirely.

Add an audio description

Audio descriptions are ideal for those who can hear but unable to see the video. The vocalized words help to explain what is happening on the screen. 

Audio descriptions are likewise ideal for supplementing regular audio tracks with descriptions of actions, screen changes, and characters. Let’s see how this unfolds in the video example below.

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To use audio descriptions, add them during breaks or only when it makes sense, like when communicating with audiences who speak a different language. If you cannot use them during pauses, make another video to narrate the scenes verbally. 

Videos with audio descriptions aren’t just ideal for those hard of seeing but also for those who want to consume your content in an audio format or a podcast style.

Use accessible colors and fonts

Colors and fonts may not work in every video but are good for videos that convey information like charts, graphs, and objects. They are also ideal for videos shot in the dark or low light to improve their appearance. 

You may also use them to make the displaying text or background images large enough for viewers to easily read them. You can easily incorporate colors and fonts during video editing using tools like iMovie and Adobe Premiere.

Include a sign language interpreter

Another way to replace text and caption is by incorporating a sign language interpreter in your videos. They are ideal for explainer videos and TEDx shows. 

The sign language interpreter can be positioned close to the speaker or on a minimized video at the far right corner of the main video to help people who are hard of hearing understand the message.

Here is an example of a live recording with the sign language interpreter standing beside the speaker. There is also a transcript after it for viewers who want to skim through the video.

[Source]

The takeaway

Anyone watching your video should not only see it but also understand what you’re saying. To fulfill every viewer’s needs, it all starts by making your videos accessible. 

Web and video accessibility involve making your videos compatible with most media players, adding captions and audio descriptions, providing transcripts, and even improving the colors and fonts of your text. This way, you will improve your video UX, viewership, and video marketing goals.

Adela Belin is an independent content strategist and marketer with a love for the written word.

Adela Belin
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