Video helps many people absorb and understand information. This page provides you with tips for how to make your video accessible for as many people as possible, regardless of physical ability, for example.
Accessible videos benefit many
An accessible video helps not only people with physical disabilities, but many other people too. For example, it is very common for people to choose to watch videos with subtitles switched on and the audio switched off. They maybe don’t have headphones and want to avoid disturbing the people around them or are in a noisy environment where they are finding it hard to hear the sound in the video. An example of another group who can find subtitles highly useful are people with English as their second language.
Videos subject to legislative requirements
Videos published as of 23 September 2020 are subject to the legislative requirements and should therefore be accessible. Live videos are not subject to the legislative requirements (unless you are not enabling people to access the recordings afterwards).
Tips for creating accessible videos
Consider accessibility as early as the planning stage of your video. Sound and visual information that play an important role in the video are to be described by a voice-over as well as subtitles, so that people with vision or hearing impairment can access the content. If you are procuring the video production, remember to include the accessibility requirements in the brief.
Subtitles are to abridge the spoken information to core information, on the principle that subtitles must follow speech. It is important to create subtitles for your video. It is not sufficient merely to publish a summarising text or a transcription (separate text version) associated with the video.
Offer so-called closed captioning (optional subtitles) so that visitors themselves can choose whether or not to view the subtitles. They do this by clicking an icon in the video player. Another advantage of closed captioning is that you can have several versions of the subtitles, for example in different languages, in the same video player.
It is also possible to use open captioning which is also known as burnt text. This means that the subtitles are burnt into the video as permanently visible graphics. If you use open captioning in your video, you will not be able to use the video for any other language than the original version.
Closed captioning (optional subtitles) are the most accessible type of subtitling and the one we recommend.
There are several different tools you can use to generate subtitles; read more in the section on "Tools for creating subtitles for video " further down on this page.
It is advisable to offer subtitles in live video streams. For example, you can use the Web Captioner service, which automatically subtitles what is being said in a live stream.
Generate subtitles for meaningful sounds
If there are sounds in the video that are important to the action, they are also to be described in the subtitles. In that case, write what is heard in brackets, for example (the telephone rings) or (calm music playing).
Visual interpretation – describe meaningful visual information using sound
Visual interpretation is a spoken voice describing important visual information which is not apparent from the video’s regular soundtrack. The video is to be visually interpreted so that a user who cannot see the video understands what is happening simply by listening to the soundtrack. In many cases, this can be achieved through an ordinary voice-over explaining what is happening and reading aloud from any signage that is shown, but more complex films may require a separate soundtrack specifically for visual interpretation.
Tools for creating subtitles for videos
To ensure your video is accessible, you need to create subtitles that can be adjusted by the visitor to suit their needs. There are many different tools that can help you create these in the right way.
Studio – video tool in Canvas
All employees of Lund University have access to the Studio film tool, which can be found in the learning platform Canvas. With Studio, you can create and edit videos, add subtitles and embed videos on a website, for example.
For films in English, YouTube’s automatic subtitles work relatively well, but you need to edit the text and correct any parts with errors.
Amara is a free tool you can use to create subtitles.