Video, Audio and Animations

The goal of making materials accessible is to provide the same information and an equivalent experience to everyone, and for them to be able to learn and do what they need to with a similar amount of time and effort, regardless of whether they have a disability. Plan ahead, as it’s much easier to build accessibility into your content as you’re producing it than ‘retrofitting’ afterwards.

Audio

HeadphonesPre-recorded audio-only resources are fairly easy to make accessible. You will need to ensure that:

  1. The recording itself is clear, so the audience can easily hear everything they need to.
  2. The audience can control how the audio resource plays (start, pause and stop).
  3. You provide a text alternative/ transcript that includes all the auditory information, correctly sequenced. If the audio resource includes time-based interaction, the alternative needs to also provide a means for achieving the outcomes of these interactions. You can transcribe recordings in MS Word online.

Video and Animations

Movie clapperVideo is a time-based medium that comprises of visual and - often - audio content. You need to consider both types of content and how they are combined to make the video accessible. You will also need to consider the available video player controls (play/pause, skipping chapters, captions on/off etc), as well as any other interactive components you have included and how these fit in with the video. You may also need to provide an alternative format.


Visual content

These apply to the visual content of your video, as well as animations, whether in video or non-video format.

Photosensitivity

High frequency flashing can trigger migraines and epilepsy and should be avoided where possible. If the video must contain this content, then a warning should be displayed at the beginning of the video.

Colours & contrast

Paint splatsIf using graphics, titles, or text you need to ensure they have sufficient contrast with their background. Using a contrast checker will allow you to find colours that work. If you are building your visuals in presentation tools like PowerPoint, they may have accessibility checkers that flag contrast issues.

Avoid using only colour to distinguish between visual elements to ensure people with colour blindness or other visual impairments can still understand what they need to.

Text

In addition to contrast, pay attention to the font you use; some are more readable than others. Prefer sans-serif fonts for most of the text. Avoid capitalising, underlining, or italicising large portions of text. Avoid small font sizes, especially in resources that are difficult to zoom in.

Avoid walls of text in the video – prefer short phrases and sentences and bullet points in plain English.

Size and clarity

Ensure text, graphics and other visual elements are as crisp as possible and at a size that makes them easily understandable. If you include screenshots or screencast footage, tools often allow you to zoom in, so you can capture what you need at the appropriate size.

Inclusion

Ensure your text and images are inclusive where relevant.

Alternatives

If your video has no meaningful audio, you will need to provide either a text alternative or an audio track that presents equivalent information to the video. If the video contains interactivity, the alternative needs to also provide a means for achieving the outcomes of these interactions. If your video contains audio, look at the audio content section below, otherwise skip to the Media control section.


Audio content

Speech bubble with the words "Hi all".Use of Language

Be mindful of the language used and the audience your content is aimed at. For example, if your audience is academic staff or students then a certain level of sophistication is to be expected, but something aimed at the general public will need to use plain English. Avoid using figures of speech as they can be tricky to comprehend. Ensure your language is inclusive.

Take care with Homonyms (words that are spelled the same and sound the same but have different meanings) and Homophones (words that sound the same but have distinctly different meanings and different spellings).

It can be difficult to do this when dealing with academic subjects and some nuance is to be expected.

Captions

Ensure video has subtitles, either:

  • “Open Captions” (burned into the video so they are permanently displayed)
  • “Closed Captions” (can be toggled on or off within the player) using a subtitle file in a hosting system that accepts them

Subtitling can be time-consuming to do manually and may require specialist software. AI (Artificial Intelligence) generated subtitles, or ‘Auto-caps’ often misinterpret words and will need to be checked over but are usually the fastest way to create subtitles. Speak clearly and minimise background noise to increase automated captions’ accuracy and make it easier for everyone to understand.

If you are uploading your videos to Re/Play, you can request automatic captions and then edit those. Otherwise, you can use freemium tools such as otter.ai but a good free choice is to upload your video to YouTube as an unlisted entry, trigger the automatic captioning and then download the resulting subtitles file as an “.srt” format file. This .srt file can be used when uploading to a video host or submitted along with the video for assessment.

You will need to consider how you add subtitles to a video. If submitting a video file as part of assessment you may need to take the Open Captions approach. Your teaching staff will be able to advise further.

Script

If possible, prepare a script to follow that includes everything shown in the visuals. If meaningful information is only shown, but not heard, you will need to provide this in a different format (see alternative formats).


Media control

Video of waterfall landscape, with a media player that includes controls to play, change speed, sound volume, seek, enable captions and set to full screen.Autoplay

If a user is accessing content using assistive technology, having media start when the page loads can be disconcerting and will clash with any text to speech functionality. Whether you are uploading to a video hosting tool or embedding in a resource, if autoplay is enabled, research how to disable it if possible. If non-essential animations start automatically when the resource loads, last for more than 5 seconds and other content is present, the user should be able to pause, stop or hide them.

Player

Video players recommended by the University will usually cover the basic accessibility requirements (appropriate contrast in buttons, navigable by keyboard etc., even sometimes changing the video speed). If you are using a different player, ensure it is accessible.

Embedding

When embedding a video in a resource or web page, it is good to also provide a direct link to it.


Alternative formats

Transcript

A transcript provides more information than just the words spoken. It should contain information related to everything displayed and heard on screen. For example, if a diagram is displayed the transcript should describe exactly what happens within the image. Transcripts are important in ensuring everyone can access your content regardless of whether they can use the actual media.

Audio Description

Consider scripting your video to describe everything happening onscreen. Where this is not possible use your transcript to create a second version of the video, pausing where necessary to allow a meaningful description to be narrated.

Contact us if you need further advice on digital accessibility.