Make your video content more accessible

Nov 09, 2021

Video accessibility is becoming a key focus for many businesses, and if it’s not something you’ve considered beforehand, it’s time to do so. Making your videos accessible allows you to reach as many people as possible, as well as proving that you’re an innovator in your field. If you’re looking to find out more about how you can maximize video accessibility, then read on.

The positives of video content, such as making use of both visual and audio elements, can also be a negative for many people. For those that are hard of seeing, hard of hearing or both, consuming video content can be a very difficult process, especially if the video content hasn’t been made accessible by the creator. Sadly, this isn’t always at the front of creators’ minds, which means you could be inadvertently creating content that isn’t accessible by many of your audience.

Lack of accessibility is a real issue for many consumers, and it’s an issue they face in all facets of their lives. According to 3PlayEntertainment, 66% of users feel either frustrated, let down, excluded or upset by inaccessible entertainment. It’s important to ensure your video content (as well as your other content) is as inclusive and accessible as possible, so read on to find out how you can tweak your videos so that they’re accessible for everyone.

Choose a video player that prioritizes accessibility

If you’re looking for an easy way to make your video content more accessible, then choosing the right video player can help. Different video players will have different accessibility controls, and depending on what you’re specifically looking for, different video players will make sense for your business. An accessible video player will include things like a user interface that works without a mouse, allows for a speech interface, interacts with screen readers and uses captions/subtitles.

Looking for a video player that is WCAG 2.1 AA certified is a great way to ensure you’re using an accessible video player. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a way for companies to ensure they’re creating content that accommodates people with blindness/low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement and speech disabilities and people with learning disabilities and cognitive limitations. Vudoo’s interactive video player is WCAG 2.1 AA certified, so you can be confident that your content is accessible to all members of your audience. 1 in 6 Australians have some form of disability, so it’s important to cater to everyone.

Why closed captions, subtitles and transcriptions are so important

If your videos don’t have subtitles/closed captioning, then a significant percentage of your audience might not be understanding your content properly. Closed captions/subtitles mean that those in your audience with hearing impairments don’t have to strain when watching your videos – instead, your audience is able to concentrate on the visual aspects of your video, while reading the captions and subtitles as they are displayed. Captions and subtitles don’t just benefit those who are hard of hearing/deaf, but they also mean that your videos can be watched in different environments, especially in public. A Newton Technologies survey found that 69% of respondents watched videos in public with the sound off, and captions/subtitles mean that your videos can be watched in public and properly understood – especially as videos are commonly automatically muted.

It’s a common misconception that captions, subtitles and transcriptions are interchangeable, but there are significant differences between the three. Subtitles are commonly used to translate speech into a different language, which is useful if you’re speaking to a multicultural audience. Captions will contain important information in addition to what’s being said, such as music playing and sound effects. You can have them open, meaning they’re always displayed, or closed, which means users can turn the visibility on or off. Finally, transcription is a separate text document, much like a script. It contains all the spoken audio in a video as well as information about the visuals such as the description of the action within the video.

How audio descriptions help your audience

Much like captions, subtitles and transcriptions are important for the hearing impaired, audio descriptions are extremely beneficial for the visually impaired. Audio descriptions provide essential information about the visuals contained in your videos, allowing it to be truly understood by the visually impaired. Without these, they might not experience the full impact of your content.

Good audio descriptions are clear and concise, while using descriptive and accurate language. Complete sentences are important, and it’s important to avoid technical terms where possible. If you’re looking to learn more about writing audio descriptions, then you can read 3PlayMedia’s guide here. Over 285 million people globally experience some form of vision loss, so audio descriptions can help you properly reach a significant portion of your audience.

Are you making accessible decisions when producing your videos?

Accessibility should be at the forefront of your mind during every part of the video production process, including when actually creating the content. When you’re filming, producing and editing your video content, you’ll want to ensure that you’re taking into account contrasting colors, which can affect users with color blindness/low contrast sensitivity. High contrast colors means your content is much easier to fully understand for these users, so keep this in mind when you’re choosing colors for graphics/text, and ideally, you’ll choose appropriate color combinations.

Flashing lights/strobing effects is another thing that you’ll want to keep in mind, and hopefully avoid. These lights can trigger seizures, but also prove very distracting to your users. WCAG have put together requirements around how many flashes you can have in your video, which you can read more about here.

Finally, it’s important to ensure your audio is balanced. Always ensure you’re capturing the best possible audio and use dedicated audio and microphone equipment when filming to minimize background noise. If you have multiple audio tracks in your video (ie. background music with a voice over) make sure the speaking tracks are mixed louder than the background so that the main dialogue can be heard.

How Vudoo’s interactive video platform can make your content more accessible

As a result of being WCAG 2.1 AA certified, Vudoo has a range of features that mean your videos can be more accessible than ever. These features include:Automatic transcriptions – Vudoo’s platform converts speech to text in up to 54 languages on demand, including the ability to search for specific words using your browser’s search feature. If Vudoo’s SEO feature is enabled, then any transcription content is also indexed by search engines.

  • Transcription upload – If your production team already has transcriptions covered, then the Vudoo platform also supports uploads of SRT format files to add transcriptions to your video projects.
  • Audio descriptions – The Vudoo platform allows you to upload audio files as alternative audio tracks for your video project such as audio descriptions. These can be labeled accordingly and are selectable in Vudoo’s interactive player.
  • Keyboard accessibility – Vudoo’s interactive player, interactive elements and content (overlays) can all be navigated without the need for a mouse.
  • Screen reader support – Interactive elements and content including text and images will be announced by screen readers. Using live regions, interactive elements are announced as they appear during video playback and the speech content can be configured in the Vudoo platform for each element.  .
  • Accessible images – all images uploaded to Vudoo’s interactive player can have alternative text provided to describe the image/s

Making your video content accessible isn’t optional anymore – it’s a must. Everyone benefits when accessibility is made a priority by businesses, and this is no different when it comes to creating video content. Today is the day to start making your video content accessible – and now you know what changes you need to make to create truly inclusive videos. Get in touch with the Vudoo team to learn more about Vudoo's accessibility!

Ryan Sweeney
Ryan Sweeney

Chief Technology Officer, Vudoo