What is required?
The National Association of the Deaf has two relevant resource pages on the US legal obligations of:
It can be simple
Creating accessible videos is as simple as creating a transcript, either in-house or delegated to a transcriptionist, and using the tools listed in the “Creating accessible videos” section below to sync the transcript into captions. You can see two examples on the Fair Use Week website:
- The video by Fred voh Lohmann was outsourced to a transcriptionist and captioned using the YouTube instructions outlined in the “Creating accessible videos” section below.
- Kyle Courtney wrote his own transcript for the video he provided, also captioned through YouTube.
Sample accessibility policies
Model accessibility policies stipulate that new and revised content should be made accessible and have created guidelines for legacy web pages and resources, defined as content that was posted prior to the effective policy date. Examples include:
- The Ontario Council of Ontario Libraries (OCUL)’s Report on Accessible Media (ROAM) provides a detailed analysis of accessible media at Ontario Universities. The report addresses specific issues related to Canadian law but offers many pertinent resources, policies, and practices relevant to all higher education institutions.
- Oregon State University’s Policy on Information Technology Accessibility states that all legacy pages which are not yet accessible include a plain-text disclaimer and opportunity for users to report inaccessibility. The disclaimer reads, “This publication will be made available in accessible formats upon request. Please call 541-737-4411 for further information.”
- Pennsylvania State University’s accessibility policy also requires an accessibility statement linked at the bottom of each web page: “The [name of department or unit] is committed to making its websites accessible to all users, and welcomes comments or suggestions on access improvements. Please send comments or suggestions on accessibility to the [position to contact].”
- University of Wisconsin-Madison’s World Wide Web Accessibility Policy stipulates that archived material be made available and accessible to any individual that requests and needs that information.
Visit the Communities of Practice page of the ARL Accessibility Toolkit to view more accessibility policies and the How to Foster an Inclusive Institution page to learn about establishing an accessibility policy on your campus.
Creating accessible videos
The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) of the National Association of the Deaf states that accurate captions are “(1) synchronized and appear at approximately the same time as the audio is delivered; (2) equivalent and equal in content to that of the audio, including speaker identification and sound effects; and (3) accessible and readily available to those who need or want them.” See DCMP’s Captioning Key for more information.
To be accessible to those who are deaf or hard of hearing, videos and live audio should have captions and a transcript. With archived audio, a transcript may be sufficient.
The ARL Issue Brief on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from 2012 addresses the need for MOOCs to be accessible to learners with disabilities and outlines that making accessibility a priority in MOOCs constitutes fair use.
The following resources have detailed explanations and practices on captions and transcripts:
- Guidelines for captioning and transcripts
- Captions, Transcripts, and Audio Descriptions, WebAIM
- Pennsylvania State University offers a synopsis on Video Captions and Audio Transcripts that includes explanations, links, and useful resources.
- Stamford Interactive’s Guide to Accessible Video [PDF] offers concise but detailed explanations on how to make your videos accessible and references the policy lines from which those steps come.
- DCMP’s Captioning Key has in-depth guidelines and preferred techniques for high-quality captioning.
- Caption Colorado provides real time closed captioning services and provides full quality evaluation reports.
- A Captioning Handbook for Higher Education by Automatic Sync Technologies describes captioning regulations and recommendations.
- Resources for creating accessible videos
- Amara is an online platform for crowdsourcing captions.
- YouTube includes a video manager that will create captions from a plain-text transcript (no time codes necessary). If you upload the transcript to accompany your video, YouTube can automatically sync the transcript text with the audio to create captions. To find out how, visit the instructions for uploading a transcript to YouTube webpage. On that page, click on “Upload a file” for more details. ARL has used several affordable transcriptionists in the past—to request their contact information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- uiAccess provides a resource and prices list for transcription services.
- DCMP Captioning Services offers a resource list of captioning service vendors for institutions looking to outsource captioning of their videos.
- Advanced Workflows for Closed Captioning in Higher Education—George Mason University and 3PlayMedia