Video and Audio

illustration of a strip of film with a video-player-arrow icon

Creating Accessible Media

Imagine watching a movie without the audio, or listening to dialogue without watching the screen; it would be difficult to understand the full context of the movie.

If your page includes video content, it’s essential to provide captions, transcripts, and/or audio descriptions to ensure all users are able to understand your video’s message.

How to Get Started

Add synchronized captions for videos with spoken word

  • YouTube videos can be captioned manually within the video or using their automatic captioning service.
  • For videos hosted on NYU Stream, order captions for free or upload a prepared file.
  • Upload prepared captions for videos on Vimeo.
  • Don't forget to check and edit all captions for accuracy.

Provide audio descriptions to describe visual content not conveyed in the audio track

  • Audio description and captioning are not always used together. If there is visual content that is not adequately described by the audio, then you should add an audio description.
  • Talking head videos typically won't need an audio description provided the audio sufficiently describes any additional visual content that may be included.
  • If the video includes a panel of speakers that are not identified in the audio prior to speaking, then an audio description is required.

Provide a text transcript that includes all relevant visual and auditory clues when possible

  • Transcripts allow anyone that cannot access content in audio or video to read a text-only version instead.
  • A video transcript includes correctly sequenced text descriptions of any visual or auditory information. If a screenplay was used to create the video, it could work as a transcript provided it accurately represents the final video.
  • Talking head videos that provide sufficient audio description still require a small text alternative. This should appear below the video and include a general description of the context of the environment, any credits displayed on screen, any text appearing on screen that provide details about the speaker and other basic information. Keep in mind that if it only appears on the screen, then it can't be heard in the audio.

Accessible media players

The media player should be:

  • Able to provide closed captions and audio descriptions
  • Operable with keyboard commands in addition to using a mouse
  • Can be viewed across all web browsers
  • Controllable through a screen reader
  • Consider using NYU Stream or YouTube media players

Accessibility Checklist

For each video or animation present:

  • Are synchronized captions for videos with spoken word available?
  • Have you provided audio descriptions to describe visual content not conveyed in the audio track?
  • Is there a text transcript that includes all relevant visual and auditory clues when possible?
  • Can the user control when the video starts to play?
  • Is there a way for users to pause or stop the moving content?
  • If flashing content is present and is considered essential is the flashing rate outside of the danger rate of between 2 and 55 Hz? If it is not is there a warning on links to the page that the page contains flashing content?