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Make your Digital Media Projects Accessible

1. Create captions

Captions provide additional information about what is visible on the screen. This allows video content to be accessible to those with visual impairments.

  • Include all dialogue and the identity of who is speaking.
  • Include any non-speech information conveyed through sound (e.g. meaningful sound effects).
  • Speakers should be identified when more than one person is on-screen or when the speaker is not visible.

2. Create descriptive transcripts

Transcripts allow individuals who cannot access content from web audio or video to read a text transcript instead.

  • Take the complete transcript of your captions and add descriptive text that relates what else is going in the video (“location shot”, actions, body language, scene changes, etc.).
  • Include all dialogue and the identity of who is speaking.
  • Include any non-speech information conveyed through sound (e.g. meaningful sound effects).
  • Include any information that is required to tell the same story and present the same information as the video.
  • Ensure the transcript identifies which person or character is associated with each described action.
  • If providing a link to a descriptive text transcript, ensure that the link occurs immediately after the text alternative that identifies the time-based media content.

3. Create described video if requested

For people who are visually impaired, described video makes media like TV programs and web videos more accessible. It is the auditory narration of visual content. During gaps in dialogue, it describes visual elements such as scenes, settings, actions, and costumes. If you have a descriptive transcript you don't need to have descriptive video according to The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WGAG) unless otherwise requested.

  • Provide described video in a timely manner if requested.
  • Description requires advance planning so that all visual content is included and added when there are suitable gaps in the audio. 
  • How to create a described video:
    1. Create a transcript:
      • You have to be brief and concise.
      • Focus only on the key points.
      • Do not add description when there is dialogue.
      • Transcript should include description of visual content.
      • Add time stamps to the transcript when things are happening or being said so you know when there are pauses in dialogue to insert described video.
    2. During scripting, ensure that the most critical content is spoken, including acknowledgements and content information at the end of the presentation, and that enough silence is provided to accommodate audio descriptions.;
    3. Once your script is complete, you will need to record it, and then overlay the new audio track on the original video.

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