Multimedia (presentations, videos, or audio recordings, etc.) are great educational resources and have been found to enhance both student learning and engagement. They can be accessible to everyone if certain essential elements are considered when creating or securing materials. Follow these how-to guides to make sure your multimedia, presentations, websites, and forms are accessible.

Quick Links

KEY ACCESSIBILITY FEATURES FOR MULTIMEDIA

The following features are critical for accessibility for people with disabilities. They must be considered when you use any form of multimedia.

Audio Description

Audio description lets a user hear narration of the nonverbal action and communication, and other important visual content that displays on screen.

Captioning

Captioning enables a user to read a synchronized text version of the auditory content, relevant for online courses or live events.

Online Video Platforms

Online video platforms are tools used to display both synchronous and asynchronous virtual meetings, sessions and events.

COMMON ACCESSIBILITY MULTIMEDIA ISSUES & SOLUTIONS

Often someone in your audience will have one or more accessibility challenges that affect vision, hearing, or mobility when using multimedia. Getting Started with Multimedia (video/audio) describes these challenges and shares accessible solutions that address them.

Creating Accessible Videos

In this how-to guide, users will learn how to make accessible videos. Our online courses typically offer video either synchronously or asynchronously for our students to view. In this guide, you will learn how to prepare your videos while making sure they are designed for all students and users of your course content.

What will be learned?

Participants will learn how to create accessible videos.

Why is it important?

Because video content often is used to deliver instruction, understanding accessibility for the video format is crucial in an online learning setting.

Videos can be a great way to get your message across. They are particularly useful for announcements, lectures, explaining a concept or demonstrating a procedure (screencasts are great for this), and advertising or promoting an idea, concept, product, etc.

Thinking about accessibility from the start when you are creating a video and determining how you will use your video will make it more available to users.

Who benefits?

This benefits students who are differently-abled but also benefits all students through universal design.

Resources

How-To Guide: Accessible Videos

Note: Graphics can be an impactful element of a video. To be accessible, ensure you describe images, graphics, charts, and pictures throughout your video. Avoid poor contrast and pixelated images or graphics. Avoid flashing, blinking, or otherwise distressing multimedia content.

  • If the videos/slides contain text, use large fonts against good contrast.
  • Images must be described for those with visual impairments.
  • In an online environment, be prepared to describe the non-verbal content that occurs.
  • Chat and discussion boxes are often missed by screen readers and transcription services. Read student posts out loud if you refer to them in face-to-face classes.

How you record video (e.g., the device or equipment you’ll use) is very important. Common devices used to record a video include:

  • Built-in webcam on your laptop
  • External USB webcam (requires installation)
  • Android or iOS camera (smartphone or tablet)
  • Digital camera

These devices allow you to share your video using an accessible media player and video hosting site.

Commonly used accessible video recording and screencasting software for recording video include:

This helps in creating smooth dialogue; it can also serve as your transcript.

  • Use descriptive language along with your actions.
  • Helps those with limited or no vision to understand what’s happening.
  • Avoid non-specific statements such as “click here.”
    • Example: Click the “Enter” button at the bottom of a website page, while saying “Click the Enter button at the bottom of the page.”
  • Refer to Creating Transcripts for more instructions.

Be sure to follow these steps to complete your video recording:

  • Use your script to reduce errors and maintain a good flow.
  • Review and edit your video.
  • Save your video in an accessible file format (best is a widely used file format that is accessible to many users; MP4 is the most commonly used and recommended).

Videos need to be captioned. This allows viewers to read what people are saying in the video. Captions must:

  • Have high-contrast colors
  • Be synchronized (they display as the audio is presented)
  • Be equivalent to the words spoken in the video
  • Appear on-screen long enough to be read
  • Be readily accessible and available to those who need it

Use the links below to learn more about captioning your videos:

Transcripts are a great learning resource for individuals with hearing or vision impairments. These are simply a text version of the video content which can be easily read by anyone, including screen reader users.

You can also create a transcript from a video that you’ve already captioned. Review Creating Transcripts for more information.

Audio description describes the visual, non-verbal information displayed on the screen, typically in a separate audio track. It especially helps users with visual disabilities. Sometimes audio description is not necessary, including:

  • When the video is primarily a talking head.
  • Using text on slides when that text is incorporated into what is spoken verbally in the video.
  • When the images used are adequately described verbally in the video.
  • When images are used but a separate location of the descriptions is provided to users, and this location is referenced during the video when appropriate (especially important for complex images).

For more information, read more about Audio Description and visit Request Audio Description.

Creating Transcripts

This how-to guide will teach you how to create transcripts for your audio and/or video recordings. It will provide specific steps as well as key tips to follow.

Why is it important?

A transcript can be very useful to the author because it allows the production process to flow smoothly. It can also make captioning your content much easier and could eliminate the need for audio description (if descriptive language is used appropriately).

From the user’s perspective, transcripts allow for a better user experience because they aid the learning process. They also provide users with visual or hearing disabilities additional access to your content.

Who benefits?

Authors of audio/video content as well as all users can benefit from transcripts, but deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers as well as users with visual impairments benefit most from transcripts.

Resources

How-To Guide: Audio/Video Transcript

  • Write the way you would speak.
  • Use words you typically use in a regular conversation.
  • Simpler words are better.

For a great script example, review Wistia’s How to Make a Marketing Video: A Beginner’s Guide while following along with the video’s script. Pay attention to how the non-verbal information is conveyed in the script. Here are a few examples:

  • Text overlay example at the :01 mark—TEXT: Ginny Soskey, HubSpot
  • Gesture example at :57—(POINTS TO CAMERA)
  • Background sound example at :57—[Ding sound]
  • Text overlay not included in script example at 1:56—the full text overlay was not included in the script because the bullet points (“Choose a familiar topic,” “Record yourself and use visuals,” and “Keep the production minimal”) were verbally stated in the video.

Distinguish between the main narrative and other secondary information that is not spoken. This will reduce the chance that your recording will need audio description if you’re recording a video. If would be appropriate to use descriptive language for:

  • Character changes
  • Scene changes
  • Sounds
  • Important gestures or directional information
  • Text overlays (text that appears on the screen but is not said verbally)

Scripting every word will keep you organized, keep your message clear, and your message will flow easily.

It will also reduce the number of retakes that you’ll have to do when you’re recording.

Practice makes perfect! Practicing allows you to get comfortable with your content and make adjustments as needed. Sometimes what you write on paper doesn’t flow well or can sound awkward when spoken verbally. Practicing can help you to identify these sorts of issues and make improvements to your content.

Your script can serve as your audio/video transcript. You can also use it to make the captioning process much easier and reduce the chance of needing audio description for video. Follow these tips to use your script as a transcript:

  • Save your script as a .txt file (this allows it to be used when captioning a video).
  • Use a blank line to indicate the start of a new caption.
  • Use square brackets [ ] for background sounds (e.g., music, laughter, etc.).
  • Use >> to identify speakers/characters.

Creating Accessible Podcasts

Making podcasts accessible is essential for ensuring each of your episodes is available to the largest possible audience. Here are a few tips (Adapted from 3Play Media’s 6 Tips for Improving Podcast Accessibility) to improve the accessibility of your podcasts.

MAKE SURE YOUR WEBPAGE IS ACCESSIBLE

Your webpage will be the primary place for promoting your podcast, so it’s important that it’s also accessible. Podcasts that are posted on websites that use UNCG ITS-approved WordPress blocks are more likely to be accessible. However, content creators are still responsible for ensuring that the content added within these blocks is accessible.

Before publishing audio content, be sure to:

USE AN ACCESSIBLE MEDIA PLAYER

An accessible media player will allow all users to effectively interact with the player’s buttons and controls. Your media will need to have the following features to be considered accessible:

PROVIDE A TRANSCRIPT

Transcripts are essential for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Without a transcript, these users will be blocked from engaging with your content. All podcasts and audio-only files at UNCG must have accurate and edited transcripts regardless of the hosting platform used. Transcripts can be linked on your website or in each episode’s description in your RSS feed. Transcripts need to be available wherever your podcast is available.

OFFER ALTERNATIVE METHODS FOR ENGAGEMENT

Adding a visual to go along with your audio is a great way to give your audience a variety of ways to engage with your content. 3Play Media has some great suggestions for incorporating visuals with your podcasts.

RESOURCES

Creating Accessible, Descriptive Scripts

Reduce the Need for Audio Description by Including Descriptive Language in your Scripts

Academic videos that you create could avoid the need for audio description if you create integrated describe videos (IDV). The first step in the IDV process is to include descriptive language in your video script. Descriptive scripts provide the following benefits:

DESCRIPTIVE LANGUAGE TECHNIQUES

Use the following techniques to limit the need for audio description for your videos:

DESCRIPTIVE VIDEO & SCRIPT EXAMPLE

Show Me Your Art is an IDV created by Accessible Media, Inc (AMI). In the video, artist Kelly Wray tours a pottery studio. Note how the video uses the following descriptive language techniques to expertly integrate descriptive language into the video, thus eliminating the need for audio description:

  1. Identifies speakers and key changes – introduces the host (first speaker)
  2. Describes visuals important to the topic; focuses on important visual elements – host describes the setting that pertains to the topic, and only the important details of that setting
  3. Identifies speakers and key changes – host introduces the new speaker
  4. Avoids vague language; focuses on important visual elements – the speaker describes exactly what he’s doing as he’s doing it; he only describes the things viewers need to know

Check out the Show Me Your Art Descriptive Script to see the structure of the video script.

RESOURCES

Creating Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Captions

Learn how to upload caption files and use ASR (automatic speech recognition) captions with editing for recorded videos using a variety of tools listed below.

Why is it important?

Captioning videos ensures that anyone who needs to access your content is able to do so, which will increase your ability to reach larger audiences. Using automated captions makes it easier to add captions yourself rather than paying a vendor to do it. However, properly editing automated captions is extremely important to ensure captions are at least 99% accurate.

Who benefits?

Users who have a hearing impairment (deaf, hard of hearing, and others) directly benefit from captioning since it can replace the audio heard in the video. Among the hearing community, captioning allows your video to be accessed in both noisy and quiet environments. Captioning is also beneficial users with cognitive disabilities (captioning accuracy does NOT have to be at 99%), and helps ESL users understand audio content. Research has also shown that captioning improves comprehension and retention for all users.

Resources

Automatic Captions

How-To Video

How to Add & Edit ASR Captions in Panopto

Instructions

  • Find your video in Panopto and click Edit.
  • Choose Captions.
  • Expand the Import Captions drop down box.
  • Choose Import automatic captions.
  • Check the captions for errors and edit as needed.
    • Captions must be 99% accurate for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
    • Look for punctuation, spelling and other errors.
  • After editing is done, click Apply, and then OK to close the editor.
  • When your updated video appears on the screen, choose the CC button on the video player to enable your captions.

Upload Caption Files

How-To Video

How to Upload a Caption File in Panopto

Instructions

  • Find your video in Panopto; select Settings.
  • Choose Captions.
  • Under the Upload Captions section, choose English from the dropdown box to set the video’s language (other languages are also available).
  • Select Choose File; find and attach the appropriate caption file (previously saved on your desktop or network drive).
  • Select the Upload Captions button.
  • Close the Settings box and wait for the upload process to finish (it takes a few minutes).
  • Once back at your folder screen, click Edit, and then Captions on the next screen to check the uploaded captions.
    • There should be minimal errors if the uploaded caption file is from a professional captionists.
    • Professional captionists strive for 99% accuracy rate – important for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

Upload Caption Files

How-To Video

How to Upload a Caption File to Canvas Studio Video

Instructions

  • Open your video in Canvas Studio.
  • Click the Captions option.
  • Under the Upload Section, choose the caption file’s language (English and several other languages are available).
  • When the Open File box appears, choose the appropriate caption file and select the Open button to upload the file to Canvas.
  • Under Manage Captions section, you should now see the caption file’s language.
    • The CC button on the video player will also appear; click the CC button and the closed captions will appear at the top of the video player’s screen.
    • To get a transcript (generated from the captions), click the 3 vertical dots icon beside the file’s language.

Edit ASR Captions

How-To Video

How to Edit ASR Captions in YouTube

Instructions

  • Sign in to your YouTube account.
  • Click on your account icon , and select “Your Channel” from the drop down menu.
  • Click YouTube Studio.
  • If you already uploaded your video, click Subtitles. This link will allow you to add and edit closed captions for your video.
    • If you have NOT uploaded your video, click Create>Upload Video; select your file to upload (typically an .mp4 file), and click Subtitles.
  • Click the video you plan to edit from the Channel Subtitles section of the page.
  • Click English (Automatic) to begin editing the captions that have been automatically added to your video. Captions must be edited because ASR captions are often incorrect and lack punctuation.
  • When edits are done, click Publish Edits.

Using Amara Software (With or Without Transcripts)

Learn how to upload your transcript and caption your own videos using Amara software.

Instructions With TranscriptInstructions With No Transcript
Go to www.amara.org. Create an Amara account and log in. Click Sign up for free to start the login process. Click Login if you already have an account.

Click on Get Started under Create Free Subtitles.

In the Subtitle a Video section, paste the video URL for the video that you want to caption, and click Begin.

Click the Up arrow icon or Upload them directly if you created subtitles/captions via a transcript.

In the Upload Subtitles box, select the appropriate language from the Language drop down box.

Next, select the appropriate language from the Video Language drop down box. Click Browse to upload your transcript file.

Click the Upload button.

Click X in the upper right side of the Upload Subtitles box. It will take a few minutes for the subtitles/captions to appear.

After a few minutes, refresh your screen. Subtitles have been uploaded when the following appears: 1 Language text (the language you selected for subtitles will also appear in a link under the 1 Language text) or the Get Embed Code link.

Click language link to display subtitles/captions. Link with English chosen as the language would display as English [en] original.

To edit subtitles/captions, click Edit Subtitles located on upper right side (just above the actual subtitles/captions).

Begin editing and syncing your subtitles/captions. Your original subtitles/captions, titled English (original) are displayed on the left. View the Amara Advanced Syncing Tips video.

Edit your text using the Editing English… column on the right side.

Review your captions/subtitles. Play your video back one last time and check for mistakes. Click Subtitling Guidelines (located at the bottom of the Keyboard Controls box) for helpful subtitling tips.

When you are finished, click the Publish button, located on the upper right side of the screen.

Helpful tip: Using Keyboard Shortcuts in Amara
Go to www.amara.org. Create an Amara account and log in. Click Sign up for free to start the login process. Click Login if you already have an account.

Click on Get Started under Create Free Subtitles.

In the Subtitle a Video section, paste the video URL for the video that you want to caption, and click Begin.

Click the pen icon to add a new language (typically the language of the dialogue in your video).

In Subtitle into, select the appropriate language from the drop down menu.

Click inside the light yellow rectangle located just above the Press Enter to add a new subtitle text.

Begin typing your captions/subtitles by using the Keyboard Controls shown in the upper left corner of the screen.

Press Tab to play and then Tab again to pause to type what you’ve heard on the video.

For long dialogue, press Shift and Tab together to insert line breaks.

Continue this process using you’ve gone through your entire video.

Sync your dialogue with your video.

Review your captions/subtitles. Play your video back one last time and check for mistakes. Click Subtitling Guidelines (located at the bottom of the Keyboard Controls box) for helpful subtitling tips.

When you are finished, click the Publish button, located on the upper right side of the screen.

Helpful tip: Using Keyboard Shortcuts in Amara

Edit ASR Captions

How-To Video

How to Edit ASR Captions in Microsoft Teams

Instructions

  • Start or Join a Meeting: Start or join a meeting in Microsoft Teams. 
  • Enable Captions
  • During the meeting, click on the “…” (More actions) button at the meeting controls. 
  • Select “Turn on live captions (preview)”. 
  • View Captions
  • Once enabled, you should see captions appearing at the bottom of the meeting window. 
  • Adjust Settings (Optional)
  • You can adjust the appearance of captions by clicking the “…” (More actions) button again and selecting “Captions settings”. 
  • Here, you can change the text size, text color, background color, and transparency. 
  • Turn off Captions
  • To turn off captions, click on the “…” (More actions) button and select “Turn off live captions”. 

Creating Accessible Canvas Pages

This how-to guide will teach users how to create Canvas pages that are accessible to all users. It covers the basic elements of accessibility, including accessible document structure, media, images, math/scientific equations, and more.

Why is it important?

Accessible Canvas pages mean that all users will have access to your information. Also, planning for accessibility during a course’s design phase is less time consuming than remediating a course after it’s been designed because a user found it inaccessible.

Who benefits?

All users benefit, but users with disabilities benefit the most. Course designers also benefit from not running the risk of creating an inaccessible course that has to be remediated after a student reports that it doesn’t work.

How-To Guide: Accessible Canvas Pages

Use headers to add structure and improve navigation in your Canvas page. The page title is Heading 1, so begin sections with Heading 2.

  • Highlight the text.
  • Select the appropriate heading (be sure to follow the hierarchy order when determining which heading is appropriate for your text).
  • Please refer to the Headings & Structure section of Getting Started with Accessibility for more information on how to arrange headings.

Adding alt text to your images is essential for making them accessible to everyone. Canvas has a few ways you can include alt text for your images. Please refer to the Alternative Text section of Getting Started with Accessibility to learn how to properly describe your images.

Include your alt text when you upload an image to Canvas:

  • Go to the Rich Content Editor.
  • Click the Images tab (right side of the Rich Content Editor). Click Upload a New Image.
  • In the Open box, select Choose File; select your image and click Open.
  • In the Alternative text box (Images tab, underneath Choose File), type in the appropriate alt text description.
  • Click the Upload button (underneath Alternative text box) and your image will be placed in the Rich Content Editor box.
  • Click Save.

Add alt text when embedding a previously saved image:

  • Go to the Rich Content Editor.
  • Click the Embed image icon (in the menu located just above the box you use to type content for your page).
  • In the Insert/Edit Image box (new box), click the Canvas tab.
  • Select your image file.
  • Enter an appropriate alt text description in the Alt text field.
  • Click the Update button.
  • Click the Save button and your image should appear in the Rich Content Editor box.

Add alt text after embedding an image:

  • Go to the Rich Content Editor.
  • Select your image.
  • Click the Embed image icon (in the menu located just above the box you use to type content for your page).
  • In the Insert/Edit Image box (new box), enter an appropriate description in the Alt text field.
  • Click the Update button.
  • Click the Save button and your image should appear in the Rich Content Editor box.

If you are using external videos, make sure that they are captioned.

  • YouTube, Kanopy, and other video services offer options to turn captions on/off in their options menus. Make sure the captions are accurate; sometimes they aren’t when auto-generated.
  • Caption your own videos uploaded directly to or recorded in Canvas with Amara.
  • Outsource captioning to ITS: LT or directly to an approved third-party vendor.

Use the equation editor to create equations, formulas, and scientific notations.

  • In order for math and scientific symbols to be accessible by screen reader, they must be created using a special typesetting system like LaTex. Canvas has a LaTex Math Editor that you can use in the Rich Content Editor.
  • The Canvas Equation Editor Tutorial has step-by-step instructions and screenshots that show you how to create accessible equations.

Scanned PDFs:

  • These must be converted through a process called Optical Character Recognition (OCR). If a PDF’s text is searchable, then it has gone through the OCR process. If not, it needs to be converted.
  • Another way to determine if a PDF is accessible is if the Adobe Read Aloud feature works on the entire document.

Digitally Created PDFs:

  • These PDFs were created with typed text and images that can be selected, edited, deleted, moved, resized, etc.
  • Using the Adobe Accessibility Checker will show you how to check your digitially created PDF for accessibility.

If you are using a publisher’s or other third-party content (software, books, documents, videos, etc.), it must be accessible and adhere to Steps 1–5 that are listed here. If the content is not accessible, you’ll need to come up with an alternate accessible plan to provide the information to the student. For assistance with developing an alternate accessible plan, email [email protected].

  • Run a basic accessibility check using the Canvas automatic Accessibility Checker, available through the Rich Content Editor.
  • Fix any errors.
  • Please note that this is a very basic check; it may not catch all issues.

  • Refer to each student’s accommodation letter to identify appropriate accommodations.
  • To give an individual student extra time on a quiz, use the Moderate This Quiz feature.
  • If needed, you can give a student with accommodations an extended due date on an assignment.

CREATING ACCESSIBLE WORDPRESS WEBSITES

Learn how to make WordPress websites inclusive to as many users as possible through theme selection, design, navigation, semantic markup, hyperlinks, and image descriptions.

Why is it important?

Creating an accessible WordPress website will allow the widest possible audience to experience the site.

Who benefits?

The creator of an accessible WordPress site demonstrates proactive consideration for the audience, shows professionalism in meeting up-to-date website design standards, meets federal standards to avoid negative consequences, and improves search engine optimization by giving search engines information in alt and title tags.

Ultimately, making a WordPress site accessible allows more people to operate the website successfully.

How-To Guide: Accessibility in WordPress

Select a theme that is already accessibility-ready.

  • Choose fonts that are easy to read.
    • Web-safe sans-serif fonts include Arial, Tahoma, Trebuchet MS, or Verdana.
    • Web-safe serif fonts include Courier New, Garamond, Georgia, and Times New Roman.
  • Don’t use background images behind text.
  • Use a second form of emphasis when using color, and check for appropriate color contrast.
  • For all images, provide alt text.
  • Do not include flashing elements.

Write site content with accessibility in mind:

  • Divide up large blocks of text.
  • Ensure all files (Word docs, PDFs, multimedia presentations, videos, etc.) are accessible.
  • Describe images in the text as well as providing alt text.

  • Use the WordPress tools for headings, quotations, and bulleted/numbered lists.
  • Headings should always start with H1, then H2, in order, etc.
  • Use Headings, not just bold text.
  • Review Getting Started with Accessibility for more information on headings.

When tables are necessary, use appropriate markup:

  • Check the HTML source code for tables to ensure cells are read in a logical order.
  • Use table markup: TH for data table headers, TD for cells, CAPTION for a table description, etc.
  • Review the Complex Table Inspector site and WebAIM’s Creating Accessible Tables tutorial for additional resources.

Create navigation that is logical and consistent.

  • All pages should have meaningful, descriptive titles.
  • Include “skip to main content” link at the top of each page so screen readers don’t have to hear the full menu on each new page.
  • Do not include pop-up boxes or items that change when a cursor hovers over them.

Use properly formed hyperlinks to descriptively tell users where they are going and what happens when they click on the link.

Example: Accessibility at UNCG versus accessibility.uncg.edu.

Steps to creating a hyperlink:

  • Select text and use WordPress icon to create a link.
  • If editing a link, click edit icon. Select link options. Check “Open link in a new tab.” In Link Text, state “(opens in a new window).”

Images, multimedia presentations, videos, audios, and non-text items:

  • Provide text equivalents for all non-text items, such as closed captioning for videos, transcripts for audio, an accessible PDF for multimedia presentations, and alt text for images.
  • Do not include images of text; instead, type the actual text.

  • Clearly label each field within a form.
  • Check that all elements within a form are usable without a mouse.
  • Ensure appropriate markup like INPUT, TEXTAREA, and SELECT elements have descriptive labels.
  • Review WebAIM Forms for more information.

Test your site’s accessibility by entering the web address into the WAVE tool.

  • After running the report, read the errors.
  • Click the second tab to read the details of errors and where they occur.
  • Adjust your site to resolve the errors.

Because not everything can be measured or fixed by automated tools, check your site manually for accessibility issues.