Five Ways to Make Your Educational Videos More Accessible

January 16, 2020

Five Ways to Make Your Educational Videos More Accessible

Whether it is a teacher discussing a lesson in front of a camera, or a video composed of moving typographies, fancy transitions, and out-of-the-box animations, or a simple PowerPoint presentation with a voice recording edited over each slide, we want to deliver our educational video across a larger audience whenever we post it online. But one of the major obstacles in achieving this is the lack of accessibility. Greater reach equates to better accessibility. If you want more people to spare more time learning through your video material, you’ve got to invest in how you make your piece and add features that will enhance the accessibility of your learning material.

Below are five steps to creating more accessible educational videos:

an arm holding a tablet with educational video about tennis

1. Secure accessibility when producing your video.

When preparing for your video lessons, always keep in mind that you are aiming to make your content as accessible as possible. To do that, make sure the text you put on the screen is reasonably large for it to be effortlessly readable. Also, use high contrast colors to produce vivid and easily distinguishable images, but never convey information based on color alone for viewers with color blindness. Another must is to never ever include flashing or flickering content, as the study shows and there have already been numerous incidents it can trigger seizures, especially to susceptible individuals.

2. Choose a reliable video player.

It is important to select a video player that is fully accessible. It must also be customizable where it should provide an option for users to toggle on and off the captions and/or narration. Other than that, it must still function and operate just fine using only a keyboard or a mouse. As an educational video producer, you should also review if the buttons and controls are properly labeled in the monitor and in the audio description as well for your audience who use screen readers. Lastly, check whether the video player is entirely functional across different devices and in all major web browsers. There is a long list of video players you can choose from which are available on the internet, but better stick to the one which is free and open-source, and most importantly, gives full access to your video content as mentioned above.

3. Add captions and subtitles.

Video captions are synchronized textual representations of both speech and non-speech sounds being played in the video, while subtitles are word translations of one language to another. Adding captions will provide people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to learn the auditory information in the video while adding subtitles will aid your viewers to understand other languages used in the material which they don’t know. Besides, there are laws that mandate video transcriptions. For instance, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that videos displayed in public must be accessible to persons with disabilities. Moreover, as an additional tip, you could also make your captions and subtitles available to more languages so more people can listen and watch your learning tool.

Now, you can either return through your videos more than a couple of times to type out the captions and subtitles yourself or hire a third-party company. For example, TranscriptionWing offers an accurate and affordable video captioning service that can do the job with fast turnaround times.

4. Include a window for sign language.

Having a small window, which is usually located at the lower left-most of the screen, displaying a sign language interpreter is a rare add-on on educational videos. Since we are after accessibility here, you should really take this into strong consideration. Including this feature would be of great help for your audience members who primarily communicate using sign language and are having a hard time reading and comprehending captions being flashed on the screen, especially when fast-paced. However, make sure that the window size is large enough that it is still discernible to the viewers but small enough that it does not take too much space on the educational video itself.

5. Provide a transcript.

A fully accessible video does not only contain captions and subtitles, but also a transcript. Not everybody will have ample time to finish watching your video, and not everybody prefers watching over reading. This is why precise and comprehensive transcripts will be helpful and convenient to some viewers, especially those who just quickly scan and skim through the material, as it will provide them everything that has transpired in the video. Advisably, make it available in text, HTML, and/or Word file formats. 

Similar to video captioning, it can be a do-it-yourself endeavor or you can just look for a vendor partner such as TranscriptionWing that can hand you a complete and errorless video transcription for a budget price.

Image source: yanalya, katemangostar

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