Making Video Accessible to All Students
What is ADA compliance for multimedia in teaching? What is required?
Multimedia accessibility means ensuring that people with any disability type---including motor, auditory, cognitive, seizure/neurological, and visual impairments---are able to use your multimedia content. More specifically, your content should be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust for all students.
Inclusive Design for Learning
- Video Player: Ensure that a person who requires keyboard navigation or an assistive device can navigate the window where the video plays (that is, the video player).
- Captions: Ensure that the audio parts of your video appear as text at the appropriate time and give access to people who are hearing impaired or deaf. Note: captions, subtitles, and titles are different. Captions refer to a specific type of technology and format, not just any words on the screen.
- Audio Description: Ensure that you have a description of all a video's visual elements, giving access to people who are blind or visually impaired.
- Color Use: Ensure that information distinguished by color is also distinguishable without color. For example, by context, line weight, symbols, etc. This is particularly an issue with graphs and data visualizations in science!
Each institution may have different requirements and policies. We recommend speaking to your campus office of disability services (or the equivalent) to determine what your local requirements are and what services are available to support you.
Also keep in mind that if you are posting your videos online, you should be thinking about the accessibility of the website or online platform. It won't matter if the video meets accessibility guidelines if your students can't get to it in the first place.
- ADA Online Learning: Creating accessible videos for your website --- Gives information on best practices, various options for each type of compliance, and examples.
- How to make Multimedia Compliant --- Provides information on making multimedia compliant with Section 508 federal regulations and examples.
- Universal Design for Learning --- Introduces Universal Design for Learning, a flexible approach to teaching that integrates the "what, how and why" of learning, and can be customized for individual needs.
- Three Principles of Universal Design for Learning --- Defines the three principles and how they can be implemented.
Resources for making it happen
Captions and Audio Descriptions
- Audio Description Project -- Information and resources about audio descriptions.
- Described and Captioned Media Project
- Caption It Yourself -- Resources and examples for captioning your own videos.
- Camtasia -- Screen recording and video editing tool with voice to text and captioning features
- MAGpie captioning tool
Specific video-hosting platforms
- How to add captions on YouTube
- How to edit YouTube Captions
- Note: YouTube does offer automatic captioning, but it can be very unreliable and contain errors. However, you can create your own transcript by turning on automatic captioning, generating a transcript, downloading and correcting the transcript, turning off automatic captioning and then uploading the correct transcript. Sometimes this is faster than generating the initial transcript from scratch.
- Specific platforms in schools
- Schools use a variety of platforms, including Blackboard, Tegrity, Ponopto, Desire to Learn, Canvas, Moodle, and Sakai. The installation may be customized according to your institution's contract. Talk to your in-house tech support to determine what resources and services are available to you.
- YouTube Captions and Subtitles --- Shows examples of captions and subtitles, defining and comparing the two.
- Universal Design for Learning video --- Subtitled video introducing Universal Design for Learning. The video describes many different groups of students that benefit from subtitles.
- Lava Flows at Pacaya --- Field video of active lava flow with closed captions on YouTube.
- Minerals vs Rocks --- Intro geoscience video with closed captions on proprietary web player.
- Girls in STEM: A New Generation of Women in Science --- Example video with multiple speakers.
- Audio descriptions and documentary film --- example of clip with and without audio descriptions
- Evolving Ideas - science videos with audio descriptions --- Select a video, then click on the Descriptive Video Service link
Online content and colorblindness (some non-video examples):
- Examples of online button colors as seen by someone who is colorblind
- Making figures and presentations friendly to people with color blindness -- an article by Masataka Okabe and Kei Ito
- W3C, 2008, Multimedia Accessibility FAQ.
- Federal Communications Commission, undated, Twenty First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.
- General Services Administration, 2013, http://www.digitalgov.gov/category/ux/accessibility/ 'Accessibility'.
- W3C, 2013, Web Accessibility Initiative Resources
- W3C, 2013, Audio and Video.