Creating Accessible Videos

To ensure Auburn University is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities of 1990, and 2008 Americans with Disabilities Amendments, the process below has been created to assist you with the development of captioned videos. As part of the Auburn University's Web Accessibility Policy, audio and video posted to the web should follow the recommendations of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). When captioning your own videos, the captions should meet the standards described on the Captioning Best Practices page.

Requesting Assistance from the Office of Accessibility

Each submission will be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Captioning urgency will be determined by the video’s purpose, length, and usage. Each video must meet the mission of Auburn University.

Due to the increase in media used for instructional purposes and because of continuing increases in media produced by the University, the Office of Accessibility (OA) will prioritize the captioning process. OA will caption media in the following order of priority:

  • Media used for instructional purposes for a student who is deaf or hard of hearing, and who is enrolled at the University;

  • Media used at a University event in which a person who is deaf or hard or hearing is in known to be in attendance;

  • Media used to promote the University (e.g. admissions, orientation, news);

Videos will be captioned and returned in a timely manner for classroom use or to post on university websites. Cost of production will be determined on an individual bases.

Steps to Request Captioning

Step One: Submit media (i.e., DVD, URL, video file, etc.) to the Office of Accessibility at least 7 business days prior to the date that the media is needed.

Please note:

  • Requests typically take no longer than 3-4 business days to be captioned, however, depending upon length and quality of the video, production may take longer. (ex: videos 2+ hours in length will require longer completion time, as will videos with poor quality)

  • Requests submitted less than (7) business days from the date that the media is needed may not be completed on time.

  • Media may be submitted to the office by dropping off a cd/dvd/flash drive, or through OIT's FileMover (use as the designated email).

  • OA staff will contact faculty/staff if there are any questions or need for clarification prior to the start of the job.

Step Two: The Office of Accessibility will caption videos in house or submit the media to a third party to be captioned. Video(s) will be prepared to meet accessibility regulations, which are required for all university videos.

Any office interested in setting up an account with third party captioning service independent of the Office of Accessibility please contact us for details at 334-844-2096.

Step Three: Faculty/staff will be notified when the captioned video(s) are completed and ready for pick up. Faculty/Staff can request that completed videos be returned via: FileMover, pickup, or uploaded to a designated location.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0)

  • WCAG 2.0 Guidelines for Audio and Video

    • If you use audio files on your web page, a text transcript or other text-based material should be provided.

  • WCAG 2.0 Guideline 1.2.1

    • "An alternative for time-based media is provided that presents equivalent information for pre-recorded audio-only content." Note: Captions also benefit non-native speakers, users with audio disabled or viewers watching a video with poor quality audio.

  • WCAG 2.0 Guideline 1.2.2

    • "Captions are provided for all pre-recorded audio content in synchronized media, except when the media is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such." Video files should be embedded or displayed in a player that can be accessed by a screen reader via keyboard commands. Accessible players include QuickTime, RealPlayer, iTunes, Vimeo, Panopto, JW Player and YouTube.

  • WCAG 2.0 Guideline 2.1

    • "Make all functionality available from a keyboard." Videos that include visual information critical to comprehension should include a description of events or images for visually impaired audiences. For example, a screencast of a software product should name the buttons and commands being used, not just say "click here."

  • WCAG 2.0 Guideline 1.2.3

    • An alternative for time-based media or audio description of the pre-recorded video content is provided for synchronized media, except when the media is a media alternative for text and is clearly labeled as such. A lengthy piece of audio or video should not be played by default when entering a page. Instead, the user should be able to click the play button to start the file. This provision prevents audio from interfering with the screen reading technology.

Best Practices for Caption Timing and Positioning

  • Each caption frame should hold 1 to 3 lines of text onscreen at a time, viewable for a duration of 3 to 7 seconds. Each line should not exceed 32 characters.

  • Each caption frame should be replaced by another caption.

  • All caption frames should be precisely time-synched to the audio.

  • A caption frame should be repositioned if it obscures onscreen text or other essential visual elements.

Best Practices for Caption Style and Formatting

  • Spelling should be at least 99% accurate.

  • When multiple speakers are present, sometimes it is helpful to identify who is speaking, especially when the video does not make this clear.

  • Both upper and lowercase letters should be used.

  • The font should be a non-serif, such as Helvetica medium.

  • Non-speech sounds like [MUSIC] or [LAUGHTER] should be added in square brackets.

  • Punctuation should be used for maximum clarity in the text, not necessarily for textbook style.

  • Captions should preserve and identify slang or accents.

Last updated: 05/13/2024