How to create videos with accessibility in mind

How to create videos with accessibility in mind

By Jennifer Beer
CHS Services Coordinator, Digital Media

Captioning With Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) deadlines fast approaching, more and more organizations need to start thinking about captioning their online video. You may think you don’t need to worry about it yet, but when the final deadlines roll around, all online content produced after 2012 will need to be accessible. It’s much more cost-efficient to make your videos accessible as you go.

Adding closed captions is the last thing you do when you are producing a video. It’s the final step after all of the editing is done. But that doesn’t mean it’s the last thing you should think of.

In some ways, you should be thinking of captioning first.

For example, when you’re planning the look of your video, think about where you will place title keys – usually the name and title of the person speaking, or other important information. If you place this information in the bottom third of the screen, it will likely get covered up by the captions, which makes the captions themselves more difficult to read, too. Think about putting the title keys higher or off to the side, instead of the typical bottom-left position.

Video screenshot showing alternate title key position

Some videos have so much onscreen information it’s impossible to read the captions at all.

Video screenshot showing news channel with information overload due to the number of items onscreen

Before you produce a video that’s information-heavy, ask yourself: can anyone understand all of that? Or are you just diluting your message?

Another concern some online marketers have is the speed of the captions. “My customers can’t read that fast,” they say.

But here’s a question: if they can’t read that fast, can they understand someone speaking that fast? Are your viewers getting your message at all?

Now, you may think there is an advantage to that – maybe you don’t want everyone who sees your video to understand the fine print that tells them that there are 15 restrictions on your money-back guarantee.

Video screenshot showing TV commercial with unreadably tiny small-print disclaimer

But most of the time, you want people to get your message – to understand it and remember it. That won’t happen if it goes by too quickly for them to access it. But it will happen if it is reinforced visually – through captions – as well as audibly.

Making your video accessible will help everybody get your message – whether they’re young, old, fluent or just learning the language. To find out more about how to add captions to your video, contact us today at