How can I make videos and audio files more accessible?

When you include video or audio content in your document, you must provide an alternative method for your audience members to understand the content if they cannot hear the audio or see the images in the video.  You can improve video and audio accessibility by providing transcripts and captions, and descriptions of video images.

Please contact your institution's office for Disability Student Services and/or Information Technology Services for students to get help with accessibility issues and for instructors to get help with adapting their course content for accessibility.

Provide a transcript.

Transcripts are required to provide basic accessibility.  A transcript is a textual version of video or audio content that can be read either visually or by a screen reader, searched by a web browser or other software, and scanned by a reader for important information.  

A transcript should contain the words spoken in a video or audio clip, and additional descriptions, explanations, or comments that may be beneficial.  For example, a transcript of a video that shows children playing ball in a school gymnasium might describe the room and indicate when the teacher blows a whistle to get the students' attention.

If you do not have a transcript of your video or audio content readily available, you can create a transcript yourself.  Note that if you did not create the video or audio yourself, you may encounter copyright issues in creating your own transcript. Please refer to your institution's Copyright Policy for more information.  For some video and audio content, you may be able to find an existing transcript by searching in your institution's library catalog or online.

Note: Minutes are not a sufficient transcript for audio or video of a meeting (unless done by a court reporter or someone who can capture every word).

Use video with captions.

Captions are like the text of a transcript synchronized with audiovisual content so that someone can get the audio information in text at the same time as the corresponding image displays in the video.  Captions for audio files can also help non-native speakers to follow along and understand better.

If you are presenting a video in class, it's best to find videos that are already captioned.  Your institution's library may have video and media resources available, and may be able to assist you with finding appropriate captioned videos.

Your institution's office for Disability Student Services may also provide captioning assistance for those with an immediate need.

Include an audio description for video.

Audio descriptions are required for important visual elements of a video that aren't already described in spoken text.  For example, if a graph or chart is displayed in a lecture video, and the instructor does not describe it when speaking, an audio description would be needed to supplement the video.