Provide alternatives for audio and video on a website. Include controls so that the user can stop, play, and pause the content.
It is necessary for video and multimedia to include synchronized captions and transcripts. If a video has narration, it is also best practice for narration to describe the actions in the video, such that a blind person listening to the video can understand what is happening on the screen. For example, in a screen capture video showing how to use a piece of software, the narrator should describe which buttons or menu items are being selected, and how the screen changes in reaction to those clicks.
Separate descriptive audio tracks, while helpful, are not supported by many common online video players, and also may be prohibitively expensive to produce. For these reasons, synchronized captions and descriptive narration are considered sufficient to enhance the accessibility of videos at this time. We have, however, included instructions below for adding audio descriptions (AD) to your videos.
Use the WCAG links provided to get detailed guidelines on how to achieve accessibility for this scenario.
Who benefits from closed captioning?
- Individuals with hearing loss or hearing impairments
- People for whom English is not their first language
- New readers
- Individuals in noisy environments
- People with learning disabilities
- All of us
- Caption editors: Tools that allow users to generate or edit text captions or transcripts themselves
- Closed caption services: Third-party services that provides text, usually through a combination of human transcription and AI
What factors are most important?
- Transcription accuracy
- Cost of service
- Time required to caption
- Ease of integration into your video hosting platform
The Digital Accessibility Team has created short instructional videos, viewable on YouTube, to guide you through the process of captioning your media.
Download the PowerPoint Files for Captioning Your Media: Best Practices & Options
Closed caption services: Preferred vendors
Yale has established Preferred Vendor Agreements with two caption service companies, 3Play Media and Rev. These agreements provide discounted rates (3Play) and superior customer service (Rev) for Yale-affiliated users. Use one of these two vendors for videos that need a high degree of accuracy, such as for a student who needs captioning for a course lecture or for public videos you will post on your website.
Caption editors: Free to the Yale community
You can manually upload captions or use the automatic speech recognition (ASR) feature in Panopto, Yale’s media management platform in Canvas. Please note that captions created through ASR are not 100% accurate and should be reviewed and edited before being used for your content.
You can find detailed directions for captioning your videos in Panopto on the Canvas @ Yale Help Site.
YouTube : Platforms like YouTube can automatically generate captions. Those captions may be used as a starting point, but they are too unreliable to be sufficient. When using YouTube automatic captions, it is important to edit the caption file.
You can access this service in YouTube two different ways:
- Through your personal Gmail account.
- You can also log in to a Yale-affiliated YouTube account via EliApps. If you do not have an EliApps account please contact the relevant ITS Support Provider to request one.
Directions for creating captions in YouTube.
- Open YouTube in your web browser.
- To upload a video, select the upload icon.
- Select “Unlisted” from the dropdown menu that appears in the upload area. This will keep your video hidden from the public but will allow people with the link to access it.
- After your video has uploaded, follow YouTube’s directions for captioning videos.
- Check the accuracy of the subtitles/captions and edit them within YouTube.
- To download your video after you’ve subtitled or captioned it, follow YouTube’s directions for downloading caption files.
If your video is longer than 15 minutes, you will need to Enable Longer Videos before you can upload and caption it.
YouTube describes how to enable longer videos in 4 easy steps.
Closed caption services: Other
The vendors listed below are all trusted captioning and transcription services.
Captioning editors: Other
Our preferred vendor for Audio Descriptions is 3Play Media. Set up an account with 3Play Media via the Yale landing page. Once your account is created, you can upload videos and select the Audio Description option under services.
Once audio descriptions have been created, you will be able to edit the transcript they provide in 3Play’s editor.
Most video players do not support audio description files. However, if you are hosting a video on a Yale website, you can download 3Play’s audio description player plug-in. In 3Play’s editor interface, select “Publish” rather than download. You will find several options for the plug-in. Please contact us if you have questions about what choices to make.