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How to Create Accessible Videos Suitable for Everyone

accessible videos

Online video is the preferred medium of content today. People watch it to unwind or pass the time on public transportation. As technology continues to develop, this medium will only grow in popularity. In fact, Cisco predicts that video will account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2022. With the number of videos increasing, it’s important to make accessible videos everyone can enjoy.

Usability can make or break your content. If people can’t easily and comfortably access and view it, it spoils the experience for them. That’s why accessibility matters. You need to design a digital experience that everyone can use without any issues. And why is this crucial?

Well, the World Bank estimates that around one billion people (or 15% of the world’s population) have some form of disability. And 71% of those people will simply leave a website that isn’t accessible to them. So, you can easily lose a huge portion of your audience.

Accessibility is especially useful for online videos, regardless of who is watching. If you upload accessible videos, all viewers are more likely to engage with them.

What makes a video accessible? We’ll tell you this and more in the article. So, keep on reading if you want to take your videos to the next level!

How Can You Create Accessible Videos?

The internet is brimming with great content as you probably know. But most of it isn’t accessible to people with disability, which makes them feel excluded. Brands can set up an inclusive zone by making sure they have these three elements that lead to accessible videos:

  • Captions
  • Transcripts
  • Audio descriptions

Each element ensures that anyone can enjoy your video content, and we’ll tell you more about them below!

Video Captions

Captions are one of the most important elements of accessible videos. They represent text versions of voice-overs, dialogues, and other audio content present in a video. Captions ensure that your video is accessible to people who are deaf and hard of hearing. But they’re also useful for non-native speakers who find it difficult to follow every part of the video.

Furthermore, teachers use captions to help students learn the spelling of words that appear in the video. And with captions you can generate an interactive transcript, making it possible for viewers to click anywhere in the transcript to watch the part where that dialogue is spoken.

There are two types of captions in the video:

  • Closed Captions: They are not a part of the video, and usually viewers add them as a separate file. Closed captions can be turned on or off, depending on the needs of the viewer. Online videos typically have closed captions.
  • Open Captions: On the other hand, open captions are embedded directly into the online video and viewers don’t have the option to turn them on or off. This type is particularly suitable for social media videos because the captions will appear as users scroll down their feed.

Why Use Captions?

Captions help you serve accessible videos to people with hearing impairments, since they can’t hear the audio content in your videos. However, captions aren’t only valuable to viewers who have hearing difficulties. Namely, they can be used by those who are in a noisy environment (for instance, if they are commuting) or in a place that requires silence (for example, if they are at the library).

What’s more, there are figures that prove you need to use captions:

This is a convincing proof that your online videos are in dire need of captions!

Video Transcripts

There’s another way you can make accessible videos — with the help of transcripts.

Transcripts are similar to captions in that they offer text versions of the audio content. However, the difference is that transcripts also describe key visual information that viewers wouldn’t be aware of without watching the video.

They make video content available to everyone, including those who aren’t able to play the video because of some technical issues. Additionally, they are useful to those who don’t have time to watch the entire video, but want to quickly search through its content.

For your brand, transcripts should present a serviceable alternative to your videos. Make transcripts available by posting a link to them on your web page.

Like with captions, there are two types of transcripts you can use:

  • Static Transcripts: They appear in plain text.
  • Interactive Transcripts: They highlight words as people utter them in the video, making it easier for viewers to find their place. Also, your audience can click on any word in the transcript, and they’ll navigate to that point in the clip.

Why Use Transcripts?

Transcripts ensure that everyone can watch your accessible videos. They offer the content in an alternate format that is aimed at those who can’t watch or hear your videos for whatever reason. People who are blind can use assistive technology like screen readers and understand your videos.

Furthermore, transcripts are great for those viewers who need to skim the content and locate relevant information. Also, they come in handy when people don’t understand a speaker’s accent or the source language of the video.

Audio Descriptions

Audio descriptions in videos are audio tracks that narrate the relevant visual content, and they’re a great addition to accessible videos. They are aimed at blind and low vision viewers to create the best experience possible for them.

With audio description, a voice describes the key elements, including facial expressions, character movement, and other information that is essential to understanding the overall plot. Although not every video needs audio description, it’s important you incorporate it if it will enhance the viewer’s understanding of the content.

You can implement audio descriptions in the following two ways:

  • Build them into the video: If there are longer pauses in the dialogue, you can add audio descriptions. You can embed them directly into the video, or you can add audio tracks that viewers can turn on or off.
  • Create an alternate video: If the audio description won’t fit in with your video, you can always create an alternate video. This means that this second version of the video will include longer pauses in the dialogue to make room for audio descriptions.

Why Use Audio Descriptions?

Audio descriptions benefit those viewers who are unable to see the whole plot of your video by giving them added context. By including described visuals, you ensure that all viewers go through a similar experience while watching your clip.

Although captions and transcripts can serve various purposes, audio descriptions aren’t as multi-functional. But, they are still an important element for making accessible videos. For instance, sometimes viewers want to just listen to the audio and not watch the video because they’re driving. That’s when audio descriptions come in handy.

Why Should You Create Accessible Videos?

Your brand should strive to create accessible videos to ensure everyone enjoys your content. During the time when 55% of people watch online videos every day, it’s paramount that this medium can be consumed by anyone. Accessibility is also required by law in Canada, the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and around the world.

Many of these regulations rely on the Web Accessibility Initiative’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as a framework. And if you want to comply with these regulations, you need to maintain certain accessibility standards.

As a brand, your goal should be to gather as many customers as possible and from all walks of life. If that means creating fully accessible videos, then that’s one sacrifice you can definitely make!

Accessible Is the Way to Go!

We hope that our article has proven that accessible videos are important in the marketing world. The elements we mentioned can be a bit overwhelming, but you can always hire specialists who will produce captions, transcripts, and audio descriptions for your videos.


If you’re on a tight budget, providing transcripts are sometimes enough to create accessible videos for someone with a disability. It’s definitely something you should consider. After all, by being inclusive, you’re expanding your customer base and leaving a good impression on your target audience.

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