Using video and multimedia

Last updated: October 26, 2022

Short videos work well to make complex information easier to understand.

Who does this affect?

  • Areeb is hard of hearing and reads captions while he watches videos. 
  • Liya speaks English as an additional language. Transcripts help her to understand what is happening in a video.
  • Kris is doing their professional development course in an open office. Captions help them watch the video without disrupting others.

Steps to take

To make a video accessible, you need closed captions and a transcript. 

Writing a transcript

Transcripts make it easier to produce subtitles in other languages. They also improve the search engine optimization (SEO) of the video, meaning it'll have a better chance of being found and categorized correctly.

Transcripts should be available either on the same page as the video or through a link to a transcript page. They should not be uploaded in a Word document or PDF. Make sure to include:

  1. All speech as well as the speakers’ names
  2. Relevant non-verbal information in square brackets, such as: [laughing] or [upbeat music]
  3. At the end of the transcript write ‘End of transcript’

Writing closed captioning

Closed captioning (CC) refers to the text version of spoken words that accompany videos or other multimedia.

When creating closed captioning, remember:

  1. Text should appear as close to the same time as the audio as possible
  2. Do not skip or change words. The CC should be word for word the same as the spoken, even the person speaking makes a mistake
  3. Identify who is speaking
  4. Use an appropriate readable font with a solid background
  5. Give users enough time to read the captions
  6. Text should be at the bottom of the screen and cover as little as possible of the visual content
  7. Do not rely only on auto-captioning or transcript services. Results need to be reviewed and edited before being published

Supporting resources

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines