Not all students are able to gain meaning from standard video presentations due to sensory disabilities, learning differences or lack of proficiency in the English language. By providing captions and audio descriptions, videos can be made accessible and meaningful to many.
“Audio descriptions provide access to multimedia for people who are blind or visually impaired by adding narration that describes the visuals, including action, scene changes, graphics and on-screen text. Captions added to multimedia presentations ensure that the audio components of the presentation are accessible to individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Both audio descriptions and captions are useful learning tools for a wide array of users in addition to their originally intended audiences. Captions can provide a powerful search capability, allowing users to search the caption text to locate a specific video, or an exact point in a video. They are also useful for people learning to read or learning English as a second language. Audio descriptions can assist students with learning disabilities by reinforcing through audio what the user is watching on the screen.
Captions and audio descriptions may be integrated into multimedia as a user-selectable option (closed) or permanently recorded along with the main audio or video (open). Closed captions and descriptions may be toggled on and off by the user via a preferences setting, a menu option or, in some cases, a button on the player interface. Open captions and descriptions may not be turned off-everyone sees or hears them, whether they want to or not.”
-WGBH National Center for Accessible Media, Accessible Digital Media Guidelines, Guideline H: Multimedia
“the process of converting the audio content of a television broadcast, webcast, film, video, CD-ROM, DVD, live event, or other productions into text and displaying the text on a screen or monitor. Captions not only display words as the textual equivalent of spoken dialogue or narration, but they also include speaker identification, sound effects, and music description. It is important that the captions are (1) synchronized and appear at approximately the same time as the audio is delivered; (2) equivalent and equal in content to that of the audio, including speaker identification and sound effects; and (3) accessible and readily available to those who need or want them.”
Refer to a more in-depth definition of captioning.
“the verbal depiction of key visual elements in media and live productions. Also known as “audio description” or “video description,” the description of media involves the interspersion of these depictions with the program’s original audio.”
Refer to a more in-depth definition of description.
The Captioning Key
The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) provides in-depth guidelines on captioning.
The Description Key
The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) provides in-depth guidelines in depth guidelines for describing educational media.
The Description Tip Sheet
The tip sheet is a condensed version of the guidelines provided in the Description Key.
WGBH National Center for Accessible Media, Accessible Digital Media Guidelines, Guideline H: Multimedia
In-depth guidelines and information on audio descriptions and captioning are provided in this section.
Resources on Accessible Video
Accessibility—Web Video Captioning Technologies: Making Web Video Accessible
Read an article on web video captioning by Jamie Berke on About.com.
Accessible Video: Tips, Tricks, and Tools for YouTube (and beyond)
Gain tips from the article in the ConnSENSE Bulletin by Eliza J. Anderson.
Adding Captions on YouTube Videos
Explore a YouTube presentation by Indata (Indiana Assistive Technology Act) on captioning.
Captioning FAQ from WGBH Media Access Group
Gain information on suggested styles and conventions for closed captioning and resources in this FAQ.
Captions and Subtitles in YouTube Videos
Gain instructions on how to caption YouTube videos.
DTV Access: A Resource Site for Industry and Consumers
Examine WGBH National Center on Accessible Media (NCAM) information about DTV captioning and audio description.
YouTube Launches Auto-Captioning for Videos
Learn about Google’s auto-captioning for YouTube.
Web Accessibility 101: Multimedia
Investigate Web Accessibility 101: Policy, Standards, and Design Techniques by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an online course that provides extensive information on web accessibility.
WebAIM: Web Accessibility in Mind
Look at this article on web Captions which includes a discussion of open and closed captions, audio descriptions and transcripts.
Captioning and Description Services
Media Access Group at WGBH