Ensuring Accessible Videos for Websites and Social Media
Forty-one percent of videos are incomprehensible without sound or captions. In fact, 80 percent of viewers react negatively to videos autoplaying with sound. So now, many social media outlets autoplay videos on silent. Therefore, if you record your event and plan on sharing the video, it is crucial that you have accurate captions.
Since many people confuse subtitles and captions, here is the difference:
- Subtitles only reflect what is being spoken.
- Captions go a step further by also including non-spoken information including [laughter], [applause] and [music], as well as environmental sounds.
Open captions are always visible. This is important for videos that will be posted on social media channels, as 85 percent of Facebook videos are watched without sound. Similar statistics exist for other social media platforms. 92 percent of mobile users watch video with the sound off.
Closed captions can be turned on/off by the viewer on TVs as well as on social media platforms. With modern web services like YouTube, closed captioning is easy to implement. If your video is hosted on YouTube and has good sound quality, basic captions similar to subtitles will automatically be added to your video at no charge. The captions are never perfect. Speakers will not be identified, certain words will not be accurate, and there will not be any punctuation. Furthermore, things like laughter and applause will not be mentioned. In order for your video to be accessible for people who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing, it is vitally important to review automatic captions and fix these issues.
There are step-by-step guides on YouTube’s help section that will tell you everything you need to know about captions on YouTube including how to edit captions that need fixing, as well as how to upload a transcript and have YouTube create captions from the transcript. If your uploaded video is short and has poor audio quality, the help section details how to create captions from scratch. Here is an excerpt about how you can review automatic captions and edit them:
- Go to your Video Manager by clicking your account in the top right > Creator Studio > Video Manager > Videos.
- Next to the video you want to add captions or subtitles to, click the drop-down menu next to the Edit button.
- Select Subtitles and CC.
- If automatic captions are available, you’ll see Language (Automatic) in the “Published” section to the right of the video.
- Review automatic captions and use the instructions to edit or remove any parts that haven’t been properly transcribed.
Even if you do not end up hosting your video on YouTube, you can still use their captioning service. Simply upload your video to YouTube, have the service create the captions automatically, go in and fix them, and then download a SubRip (SRT) file. SubRip is the standard file format for captioning, and you can upload an SubRip file to services like Vimeo or Facebook to enable captions on these platforms.
A Note About Instagram
If you are posting content on Instagram, stories and videos can easily be made more accessible with captions. For Insta Stories, captions can be added in two ways: by downloading and utilizing a free app like Clipomatic or recording the video and manually typing what is being said using the add text option. For videos on feeds, the best way to add captions are by prerecording the video and adding captions in editing software such as Inshot, Screencast-O-Matic, Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut or iMovie.