You may already know that : not everyone is equal when it comes to browsing and finding information on the net. Whether hard of hearing, visually or motor impaired, having trouble reading or paying attention, some people have hard time accessing the content available on the internet.

Video contents are no exception to this rule: contrast, readability, comprehension related problems can reduce the engagement of some viewers for your videos.

This has a cost as much for them as for you, since you considerably limit your audience (In the US, up to 19% of the population is concerned).

At Checksub, our mission is to make video creation accessible to as many people as possible. Here we give you the best practices to achieve this. Let’s pay attention to this crucial issue ! 🙂

Video accessibility: for whom?

When it comes to disabilities and difficulties in accessing the web, the cases are very varied and related to specific problems. Here is a quite exhaustive description of the perceptual, physical or psychological disorders that prevent the good understanding of your video contents:

  • Visual deficiencies. In addition to being absolutely blind, many people have difficulty perceiving visual signals. This ranges from difficulty perceiving colors, contrasts, field of vision or sharpness. They usually need audio descriptions or better visual cues.
  • Hearing impairments. Whether mild or deep deafness, these people need text descriptions or better audio optimization.
  • Motor impairments. Some individuals have impairments in using their hands. They need video playback to be adapted with voice control or trough different means.
  • Reading and comprehension problems. Some people cannot grasp several types of information at once or take longer to understand them. They may also have reading difficulties (dyslexia). They need a written transcript or audio description.
  • Attention, memory deficit disorder. They may need a transcript or strong visual cues to stay focused.

As you can see, the situations they encounter are very different. Therefore, this also requires different ways of solving their problems.

What are the ways to increase the accessibility of your video?

To try to enhance the experience of all these people, there are fortunately many technical optimizations available to convey the message of your videos more easily.

Improve the content and form of your video

It starts with a video that has a design that is easy to use and perceive. Here are some recommendations based on the W3C WAI (web accessibility initiative):

  • Having strong body language speakers and consistent with what they are saying.
  • Having a script that describe the situations and environments of the scene in a more comprehensive way.
  • Highlighting the face and lips of the speakers (for the lips-readers)
  • Increasing the contrast of your video. Emphasize the foreground over the background, essential information and indications over secondary information.
  • Increasing the contrast of your audio. Turning up the speakers’ volume compared to background sounds.
  • Embedding your video in an accessible video player that supports no-mouse use or voice control.

Add subtitles and text indications

Another essential and well-know way to improve accessibility, is to add textual indications that describe the words and sometimes sounds of the video. There are many things to optimize subtitles by making them readable and understandable. As a professional subtitling company, here are the tips we can give you:

  • To improve readability, cut your subtitles into sentences and logically. Do not exceed 40 characters per line. Assemble your sequences into two lines of equal length that overlap in a pyramid shape.
  • Synchronize the speakers’ speech with the subtitles display. Try to display text every time a speaker’s lips move (for the lips-reads).
  • Concerning their design, highlight your subtitles with a black color on a transparent black background, or the other way around. Avoid strong colors (yellow, red, orange…).
  • Omit words when people speak very quickly without taking away the meaning of the sentence. Remove unnecessary onomatopoeia and redundancies, except those that resonate best (well, hum, oh,…).
  • Use a sans serif font and choose a relatively large size without hiding the video too much.
  • Pay attention to the context and the situation for some ambiguous words.
  • Use an automatic subtitle generator to make the work much easier. Checksub can help you with this!

Provide a written transcript

Some people simply can’t understand the video at the rate it is played, or need synthetic information to better understand and retain parts of the video. Converting the video speech into text is then essential. Again, there are several tips to create a clean, readable file:

  • Transcribing by yourself is a job in itself. You can do it by yourself but it will take a lot of time. You can use tools to help you focus on listening and writing (headphones, software or a transcription pedal).
  • If you’re not a professional, use speech-to-text technology to get a good working basis.
  • Transcribe both the words and the sounds that are useful for understanding.
  • Structure your file in a clear and logical way. Add annotations to describe the names of speakers (Eric:), situations (***), to separate discussion topics (_____) and to evoke sounds [applause].

Web accessibility: other possible optimizations

We end this guide by mentioning other less known but equally useful ways to make your content more accessible:

  • Audio descriptions and voice-overs to describe the scene situation and narration
  • Sign language translators that appear next to your video. Some people are born with this language.
  • For live video, live-generated transcripts and subtitling.
  • Braille transcripts
  • Subtitles in several languages, including English, to ensure the universality of what is said.

There you have it, we hope we have described all the situations exhaustively.

If you want to save time on your subtitling, our precise and easy to use automatic subtitle generator can help you. You can test it here.

It’s up to you to make your videos accessible to absolutely everyone!

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