Creating an accessible environment applies to more than the text and layout of websites. Multimedia content such as video and audio clips should be made accessible so everyone has the opportunity to use them. There are simple steps you can take to ensure any video or audio content you create is accessible for all.
- Identify what important visual content will need to be described audibly (e.g. graphs, equations, images, etc.). Our guide on providing spoken descriptions of visual content provides details on how to do this.
- Important on-screen text should be described audibly; this includes names and affiliations of speakers.
- If you are deciding on a color scheme, ensure the text and background color combinations meet minimum color contrast standards. You can use the WebAIM contrast checker or the TPGi color contrast analyzer for this. If you are using CU brand colors, refer to the CU Boulder color contrast recommendations.
- Advise all speakers and presenters of the recommendations listed in the Production/Filming Tips section below.
- Script all spoken content in advance. This will ensure all images are properly described and will speed up the captioning process in post-production. It will also allow you to assess and adjust the content so that it is delivered at an appropriate level of complexity for your target audience.
- Speakers should state their name and title/affiliation audibly.
- Narrate any important visuals, such as graphs, equations, or images that need to be conveyed for the listener to fully understand the content.
- Be specific when talking about visuals on the screen. If the speaker uses locational references like “here” or “there”, they should also include a description of the item they are referencing.
- Don’t say: “This part over here represents the slope of a line.”
- Do say: “In this equation, ‘y equals mx plus b’ represents the slope of a line.”
If you are adding text or video graphics to your video, ensure the color contrast for text meets minimum standards. To check contrast, use the TPGi color contrast analyzer (for images) or WebAIM contrast checker (for hexadecimal color codes).
Additionally, ensure there is no rapid blinking or flashing content in your video to avoid triggering seizures in individuals with photosensitive epilepsy.
Accessible Media Players
An accessible media player should:
- Have the ability to be fully operated with a keyboard and have controls (e.g., playback, pause, start) that are recognized by assistive technologies, including screen readers.
- Offer a variable speed range.
- Be operable across several internet browsers, including Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari.
- Support at least one caption file for closed captioning, but ideally several (to allow for subtitles in languages other than the original spoken language). Please visit the Caption-Friendly Video Storage Options page for more information.
- Support multiple audio tracks to allow for audio description and translated audio tracks in languages other than the original spoken language.
Closed Captions & Transcripts
Include closed captions that reflect all spoken content as well as important non-speech sounds, music descriptions, and indications of tone when someone is speaking. You may also include a transcript. The captioning team has provided information about transcripts and captions.
If your video has no audio or there is visual-only content that was not properly narrated, create a written summary of the content to ensure your audience can access all meaningful information. If you are using YouTube or Vimeo to host your video, this summary can be placed in the Description section of the video. When embedding the video on a website, include the summary next to or before the video.
Audio descriptions are a way to ensure that individuals with a vision-related disability can fully access video content. Audio description consists of a secondary audio track that describes any meaningful visual content during the gaps in the video's audio content. Audio descriptions should generally be created by someone with experience, and there are a number of third-party vendors who can provide this service for live and pre-recorded material.
Producing audio descriptions is not always necessary, however. If the video is created in a way that all important visual information is also provided audibly, the audio descriptions will be "baked" into the original content and do not need to be added after the fact.
Examples of how to convey visual content audibly in the original audio include:
- Instead of only showing text at the bottom of the screen that shows an interviewee's name and title, ask the interviewee to state their name and title when they begin speaking, or provide a voiceover that narrates their name and title.
- If a graph or figure is shown, explain out loud what the graph is measuring and what the results are.
3Play Media offers a detailed overview of audio descriptions. If you need to add a separate audio description track to your video, you can assess and select a media player that supports audio description.
Faculty, staff, and students can request additional training or consultations regarding accessible video practices by emailing Captioning@Colorado.EDU.