The power of the Web is in its universality.
Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.
– Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web

I couldn’t have said it any better: when producing content you want to make sure it’s accessible to everyone. Although this might seem obvious, it’s often forgotten when it comes to online video. Have you for example ever given any thought about how visually or hearing impaired viewers experience your video?

In this blog I will give you three quick tips on how to create and improve accessible videos.

Web guidelines

When you make your online content available to anyone, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is a helpful set of criteria. The WCAG is designed to increase the quality and accessibility of your website. What makes it even more useful is that it is a technical standard used all over the world. So if you stick to these guidelines, you support any visitor from anywhere in the world who wants to view your content.

In addition to supporting visitors with a visual or hearing impairment, it also gives visitors with a slow internet connection or outdated software the certainty to see your content. Curious how that works? Experience it for yourself:

With visual impairment With hearing impairment Without limitation

Video accessibility: added value for video

The WCAG is very useful for your business; following the guidelines is compulsory for a reason when it comes to governmental organizations. Besides the general comforts and benefits for your website, adhering to these standards will also adds value to your videos:

  1. More visitors are able to understand your content with subtitles and a descriptive audio track.
  2. Your video is user friendly and accessible.
  3. Last but definitely not least: it improves your video SEO.

Let’s go through these points one by one.

1. Subtitles and audio track

When adding an audio track or subtitles to the video a broader audience can be reached because more people are able to understand your content. Adding subtitles is most likely no new concept to you: in text you describe music, surroundings and spoken words to make the video understandable for a visitor with impaired hearing or in an environment where silence is required.

By adding a descriptive audio track you give someone visually impaired a description of what is shown in the video. This audio track is like a voice over that says what is visually happening in the video. Preferably at the exact moment it takes place. Both options take your visitors through the video in a way that’s meeting their needs.

In the Online Video Platform you can add subtitles and audio tracks in multiple languages to one video. More people will understand the content and you will attract a broader audience: win-win!

2. User friendly and accessible videos

Most players already help you with the first steps of being user friendly: they have a simple pause/play button and the possibility to turn up or down the sound. In order to adhere to the WCAG you should also add the formerly described audio tracks and subtitles.

Being user friendly means that visitors can use your video easily and successfully, but also that they understand it. The descriptive audio track and subtitles make sure that a broader audience has access to your content, because now visitors with impaired hearing or vision can also understand the video. Because not everybody needs or wants sound, an audio track or subtitles, it is important to give users the opportunity to turn them on or off.

3. Video SEO

Google is smart, but not smart enough to read pictures or videos. This is why you can improve your video SEO by adding subtitles and descriptive audio tracks. Google can read and therefore understand these additions. The plus side: the video will be indexed properly so you can end up high in the search results.

Video accessibility: go the extra mile

You invest in creating content. You create content because you believe it has value for your viewers. So you’d like to share it with the world. By adhering to the WCAG guidelines you can go the extra mile by making sure everyone has the possibility to understand your videos. Would you like to learn more about adhering the WCAG for videos? We would be happy to help you.