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Creating accessible video and audio content

The advice below is general advice for video and audio content. For specific advice on the regulatory requirements for video and audio used in teaching, see Video and audio accessibility for teaching.

Video and audio content are a great way to deliver learning content. However, when creating audio and video, you should keep in mind that:

  • Not everyone is able to see video.
  • Not everyone is able to hear audio.
  • Not everyone is able to operate a mouse.
  • Not everyone is a native language speaker.

Creating accessible multimedia content will make your content accessible to the widest possible audience.

Regulatory requirements

The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 require us to ensure that all of our websites and mobile applications are accessible by design. To do so, they must comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA standard.

All pre-recorded audio and video published after 23rd September 2020 must be accompanied by:

  • a text alternative
  • captions

Transcripts and subtitles

At minimum, video and audio content should be accompanied by an equivalent text alternative. The alternative should provide the viewer with the same information as they would have received from watching the video or listening to the audio. This could include:

  • A text summary
  • A text transcript
  • Subtitles (captions)

Transcripts and subtitles should capture all the spoken audio, plus on-screen text and descriptions of key visual information that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible without seeing the video.

There are two approaches to creating a transcript or captioning a video:

  • Do it yourself. There are tools that can help to speed up the process.
  • Outsource. There are several companies that transcribe videos for a fee.

Audio description

Audio description is a separate audio track that describes what’s happening on screen. That may include describing body language, expressions and movements which helps to make the content clear through sound.

Tools for creating captions and transcripts

There are tools available to automatically generate a transcript or caption file. Please note, automated transcription is not 100% accurate. Captions and transcripts should be reviewed and corrected to ensure accuracy. The following hosting platforms automatically generate closed captions and/or a transcript.

The following hosting platforms do not automatically generate closed captions and/or a transcript. Therefore, a transcript will need to be created and provided along with the video or a closed caption/subtitle file must be created and uploaded.

Further resources

Making Audio and Video Media Accessible

Podcast accessibility

Video and audio accessibility for teaching

Advice and guidance on the regulatory requirements for video and audio created for teaching and learning.