Accessible video & audio

Multimedia (video and audio) presents unique challenges for accessibility. Captions, transcripts, and descriptive audio are all ways to ensure your audio and video content is accessible. 

Best practices

  • All audio files embedded on your website should have a transcript available.
  • All video files embedded on your website (including Youtube videos) should have either captions or a transcript available.
    • Don’t just rely on the captions automatically generated by video programs, as they are not accurate enough to provide meaningful context. Make sure you review and correct any auto-generated captions.
  • A transcript for a video could provide all the audio and all the visual information, so that a person can get all the content of the video by reading the text.
  • Descriptive audio helps describe important information in a video for people who can’t see:
    • Audio description - where the audio track includes someone describing the important visuals. Audio description can be included in the main video, or it can be provided in a separate video
    • Text transcript - includes description of meaningful visual information (kind of like a screenplay)

Captions checklist

  • Captions are available in the appropriate language
  • The captions seem in sync with the spoken content
  • The people who are speaking are identified when they speak
  • Important sound other than dialogue — e.g., footsteps approaching, doors closing, glass breaking — is included

Additional resources