Video and Multimedia

How do I make multimedia accessible?

Multimedia presentations can enrich education and enhance learning for many students, but it can also pose barriers for others. Audio and video are inaccessible to people who are unable to hear, and  video is inaccessible to people who are unable to see critical information that is presented visually. Other students are impacted by low bandwidth Internet connections. Multimedia players can pose barriers as well if the player controls require use of a mouse or if they are not labeled sufficiently to be usable by screen reader users.

Where can I find vendors who provide captioning services?


There are many vendors who provide a wide range of captioning services. One of the best resources for selecting a vendor is the U.S. Department of Education, which, in collaboration with the Described and Captioned Media Program administered by the National Association of the Deaf, officially approves captioning service vendors. Approved vendors are listed in the document Captioning Service Vendors.

What legal issues are associated with access to video products for students with sensory impairments?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that public programs and services be accessible to people with disabilities. For example, with captions, the content of a videotape shown in a course might be made accessible to a student who is deaf. If the product is not captioned, access to the content would need to be provided in another way, perhaps with a sign language interpreter.

What are some guidelines for creating attractive and functional open or closed captions?

Captioning is usually considered when the video product is complete, if at all. Instead, the production should be filmed so that critical content does not appear where captioning will cover it (usually at the bottom of the screen). Captions should describe all of the visual content, including nonspeech noises. Suggestions for making attractive and functional captions include the following:

Is there a way to add captions to a video that is already published?

Yes, captions can be added to a video presentation that has already been published to make it accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The first step in adding captions to a video is to transcribe it, or obtain a transcript if one already exists. The second step is to synchronize the transcript with the video. There are various tools and techniques for doing this, depending on the media type.