Video and Audio

Summary

At the University of Minnesota, videos should include accurate captions and audio descriptions. Audio-only content should include an accurate transcript. When sharing audio and video recordings, don't use auto-play.


Impact

Impact

Video and audio content, such as podcasts, videos, and narrated slideshows, are increasingly being used to enrich and deliver online experiences. To meet University policy requirements, video and audio content must include text-based alternatives so all users can access the information.

Video Captions and Audio Transcripts

Video captions and audio transcripts provide access to people who:

  • are deaf or hard of hearing
  • are learning another language, or whose native language does not match the audio content (i.e., international students)
  • have learning disabilities or other cognitive impairments
  • learn by taking in information in multiple ways
  • are in quiet environments where audio output is undesirable (i.e., libraries)
  • are in noisy environments where audio may be difficult to hear or understand (i.e., student unions).
  • do not have equipment that supports audio output (such as headphones)
  • are looking for information contained in a video; search engines can find information in captions and transcripts, but not in a video or audio file

Audio Descriptions

Audio descriptions in videos provide access to people who: 

  • are blind or have low-vision
  • are learning another language, or whose native language does not match the audio content (i.e., international students)
  • have learning disabilities or other cognitive impairments
  • learn by taking in information in multiple ways
  • are in visually stimulating environment where looking at the video may be undesirable (i.e., while exercising or driving)
Dos and Don'ts

Dos and Don'ts

Expand all

Review, Edit, or Create Captions

Captions are text blocks in a video that display all audio information, including spoken works, sounds, and music. Captions are:

  • Time-coded so two (but sometimes three) lines of text appear at a time, usually at the bottom of the video
  • Either “closed” (able to be turned on or off by the user) or “open” (on all the time)
  • Displayed in the same language as the audio

Subtitles are similar to captions, but they display only spoken content, usually in a language other than the language of the audio, and they can be turned on or off by the user.

Do

Review your videos. Do they include captions that adequately match what the speakers are saying? Are changes in who is speaking labelled, if this is not apparent in the audio? If not, replace the videos or include adequate captions.

Options for Videos without Adequate Captions
Type of Video Options
Videos You Share
Videos Uploaded to Canvas Click the CC button and use the Amara service to create captions manually (Alex will be writing a KB article).
Videos You Own Edit auto-generated captions in YouTubeKaltura, and VoiceThread.

Don't

Don't assume that all videos have closed captions. 

Don't assume that auto-generated captions are "good enough." Auto-generated captions will not approach the over 99% accuracy level needed by people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Further, auto-generated captions will not include important non-speech content that may exist in the audio.

Don't assume subtitles can take the place of captions.

Review and/or Integrate Audio Descriptions

Audio descriptions use the audio track to describe what is happening within a video. With some planning, they are relatively easy to include while recording a new video. They can be added to existing videos by recording a narrator's voice in the natural pauses and silences, but this is a newer and expensive method.

Do

Review your videos. Does the audio adequately explain what is happening on screen? If not, replace the videos or add audio descriptions.

Options for Videos without Adequate Audio Descriptions 
Type of Video Options
Videos You Share

Replace the videos with others that have integrated audio descriptions.

Use Kaltura's workflow to add audio descriptions. It costs $9 per minute and will be billed to your department.

Videos You Own Next time you record a video, follow a script (ask Susan Tade for links).

Don't

Don't assume that just because you don't know of a person in your audience who is blind, that another person trying to use the content won't have a problem with it.

Include Transcripts

Transcripts are plain-text versions of the speech or audio in a video or audio recording. Unlike captions, transcripts are not time-coded; they are static documents.

Do

If you are sharing an audio recording, include a transcript. Each line of text should identify who said what. 

Don't

Don't share audio without a transcript. This violates University policy.

Choose Accessible Playback Tools

Do

Choose a playback tool that is both mouse- and keyboard-navigable, and that allows the user to adjust the quality and speed of playback.

Don't

Don't turn on auto-play. This sets video or audio content to play automatically when a web page loads. Auto-play can be disorienting to people using a screen reader, and annoying to all audiences.

How-to