How can I make audio or video more accessible?

When you include video or audio in your site content, UVA policies (opens new window) require that you provide an alternative method for your audience to understand the content if they cannot hear the audio or see the images in the video.  You can improve video and audio accessibility by providing captions and transcripts, and descriptions of video images.

The following web pages provide resources for students to get help with audiovisual accessibility issues and instructors to get help with adapting their course content for accessibility:

Use video with captions.

Captions provide basic accessibility.  Captions are a synchronized text version of the spoken content of a video.

Advantages:

  • Those who are hard of hearing use captions to experience audio content.
  • Captions can help reading learners to better understand and remember content.
  • Captions can help non-native speakers follow along and understand the content.
  • Someone can use captions to view a video without sound in an area such as a library or loud room.

If you are presenting a video in class, it is best to find videos that are already captioned.  The UVA Library has many video and media resources (opens new window), and can assist you with finding appropriate captioned videos.

The Student Disability Access Center's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (opens new window) also provides captioning assistance for those with an immediate need.

Provide a transcript.

A transcript is a textual version of video or audio content that can be read either visually or by a screen reader, searched by a web browser or other software, and scanned by a reader for important information.  

A transcript should contain the words spoken in a video or audio clip, and additional descriptions, explanations, or comments that may be beneficial.  For example, a transcript of a video that shows children playing ball in a school gymnasium might describe the room and indicate when the teacher blows a whistle to get the students' attention.

If you do not have a transcript of your video or audio content readily available, you can create a transcript yourself.  Note that if you did not create the video or audio yourself, you may encounter copyright issues in creating your own transcript.  Please refer to UVA's Copyright Policy (opens new window) for more information.  For some video and audio content, you may be able to find an existing transcript by searching in the UVA Library's catalog (opens new window) or online.

Note: Minutes are not sufficient for a transcript of an audio or video of a meeting (unless done by a court reporter or someone who can capture every word).

Include an audio description for video.

Audio descriptions are required for important visual elements of a video that aren't already described in spoken text.  For example, if a graph or chart is displayed in a lecture video, and the instructor does not describe it when speaking, an audio description would be needed to supplement the video.