Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Creating Accessible Movies With Video Transcription And Captioning

How to Create Accessible Videos for eLearning Inclusivity

The face of the American workforce is changing. Over the past fifty years the offices have grown into generations, including people of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, and people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 and has provided access and opportunities for people with disabilities in the United States for 30 years. It is a law that affirms the civil rights of people with disabilities and puts inclusion at the forefront of the law.

In this case, inclusion is the practice or policy of granting people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized equal access to opportunities and resources. When it comes to your training programs, you want to make sure that your eLearning animations and training videos have the appropriate accessibility so that everyone can access your content.

eBook release

How to Implement Video Learning and Animation

Discover the know-how you need in this guide, which is specially tailored for training managers.

Accessible content through design

One of the best ways to ensure the accessibility of your content is to consider these four questions:

1. Is the content experience the same for all of my users? If not, can I do it right away? This question is at the heart of inclusion. When planning your lecture, course, or video, keep in mind elements that others may inadvertently exclude. If you can’t get rid of them, plan an alternative.

2. Does my content match a range of preferences and abilities? This question includes learning styles, physical and mental disabilities. Add variety to the planning phase for your content so that each learner can interact with your message with fewer obstacles.

3. Is my content easy to understand regardless of language, cognitive or experience barriers? This question has a lot to do with the way your content is written. Make sure the material isn’t too academic or too specialized for your viewer to understand.

4. Does my content communicate the required information regardless of my user’s sensory skills? The last question relates to how the information is shared. For example, if correct and incorrect answers are color-coded, someone with color blindness may not be able to get the necessary information about correct answers due to their disability. It’s about balancing the methods of communication in all of your content.

These questions can be difficult to find answers to, especially if you are new to eLearning, but don’t worry. There are simple accessibility guidelines you can follow to create an accessibility checklist that is appropriate for your training video projects.

What is 508 Compliance?

508 Compliance is a federal law that stipulates that all electronic and information technologies developed, procured, maintained or used by the federal government must be accessible to people with disabilities. This means that if you are a public sector agency, a government contractor, or in some cases a recipient of federal funding, your videos must meet this compliance standard.

Private sector companies apply 508 guidelines and use them as best practices in developing anything from marketing materials to compliance training. Since the average employee spends more time at their computers than ever before, it is important to comply with Section 508, especially if you are using the Internet for teaching or eLearning.

508 compliance extends to websites and digital documents. However, to make sure that your eLearning videos are accessible, you need three things: subtitles, audio descriptions, and an accessible video player.

Video subtitles

Captions are a written description of all of the audio in a video. Captions are more than just dialogue or narration. They contain sound effects, music or other information that provide additional context to a hearing impaired viewer.

There are two types of labels: open and closed. Open subtitles mean that the subtitles are embedded in the video and cannot be turned off. This works well when the video is short, has very little on-screen text, or you’re not sure how to use the video. With open captioning, whether they’re viewing the video on their phone, your LMS, YouTube, or your website, people will have the same experience. Subtitles are the opposite. They can be turned on or off if the video player streaming your content supports subtitles.

Captions versus Subtitles

Captions and subtitles are not created equal, although most people consider them to be the same. They are written in the same language spoken in the video, while subtitles translate the spoken material into an alternate language. Providing alternative language options will improve the accessibility of eLearning, even if it is not related to disabilities, as people of different ethnicities and linguistic backgrounds will also need to understand your content!

If adding closed captioning to your training video is not an option, you can meet the compliance criteria by providing an ADA-compliant transcript. A transcript is a Word document that was created from your script. One person can read this instead of watching the video. Write the transcript in such a way that the reader has the same experience, that is, that important actions are included in the video.

For learners who speak American Sign Language as their first language, captions and transcripts are not always enough. In these situations, it is best to work individually with the learner to find a solution that is right for them.

Audio descriptions

For people who are blind or visually impaired, providing audio descriptions of a video is another way developers can make their content accessible. For example, having your subject matter expert describe what is happening on the screen can help visually impaired learners understand what happens when it does. Another solution is to add optional audio descriptions that users can turn on or off as needed.

Accessible video player

The final component of accessible video is to make sure that the video player itself is accessible. Often times, we design content with a mouse, which means the user has to click the buttons on the player to fast-forward, rewind, pause, play, or play the video. Learners who don’t use a mouse or can’t see the buttons in the playlist clearly will be at a disadvantage when viewing your content.

To counteract this, accessible video players should have functions that can be navigated using the keyboard or voice-activated functions. You can ensure the accessibility of your player by choosing a 508 compatible hosting service. You take care of the technology so you can focus on creating content for your viewers.

More design considerations

There are two additional design considerations to keep in mind when creating accessible eLearning content: text readability and color contrast.

Making the text clear, large, and visible on the screen as soon as the user interacts with it ensures that the text is not only legible but also recognizable to a screen reader. This will help those who may be using a device read the content of the site aloud. Screen reader technology does not recognize text that is not initially displayed or when a drop-down menu masks it.

For people with color blindness or visual impairment, contrast and color choices can greatly affect how the video is displayed. Hue, saturation, and legibility are critical in helping learners understand what is being displayed on the screen. Using an online color checker will give you feedback on what your video is doing well and where an adjustment is beneficial.

Accessibility after production

If you’ve already published your eLearning content, that’s fine! You can still take steps to make your eLearning content accessible to others. If you are able, consider re-uploading your subtitled video, posting it to another website, or including links in the description to other accessible versions of your audio description videos. Sharing copies of your videos dubbed in another commonly spoken language can also improve accessibility. If you use your platform’s subtitle settings (or subtitles) after uploading, users can enable or disable subtitles directly in the video player. Remember, always keep your audience in mind when making eLearning content available to your learners and listen to feedback.

Download the eBook. How To Implement Video Learning And Animation: A Guide For Training Managers On A Budget For More Tips On Maximizing Animations For Employee Development. Also attend the webinar to explore 8 sample design examples that you can use for your business.


eBook Publication: Ninja Tropic eLearning

Ninja Tropic eLearning

Finally a budget-friendly eLearning video and animation studio that specializes in immersive video learning experiences. We inspire growth and change in the world’s leading organizations and have cracked the code for quality, speed and budget!

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