6 Jan 2022 Laura Swanson

Make it an Accessible New Year

For many, the New Year brings a rush of resolutions and goal-setting.

Whether it’s a commitment to better organization or resolving to wake up early and get a head start on mornings, using the New Year as a fresh start is a tradition as well-known as toasting at midnight.

But after the celebrating and goal-setting comes the hard part: figuring out how to make those goals a reality. Fortunately, the resolution to incorporate accessibility is easy if you know what services to look for.

Captioning

Captions have been on TV for more than 40 years. This makes TV captions one of the more widely recognized ways people think of captioning, but it’s not the only way captions can be utilized. Below are some of the ways captions make our everyday lives more accessible.

An A+ for Education – Captions make online classrooms more accessible, and can help students better retain information. The chance of missing a vital tip or teaching point are lower when captions make sure the message gets across.

Make the Play with Fans – Captions make sporting events, concerts, conferences, and theater performances accessible. By captioning song lyrics, stadium announcements, dialogue, or commentary, fans never have to miss a beat.

Keep Communities Connected – Governing bodies and non-profit organizations find benefits in captions as well. With more official meetings being video-streamed or recorded, having accurate, reliable captioning keeps communities connected.

Generate Company Growth – Captioning easily can be incorporated in company video calls, meetings, trainings, and events, keeping all staff connected and ensuring the broadest possible set of ideas. Captioning has marketing and sales benefits, too. Captioning online video clips and advertisements makes the content accessible to the broadest audience possible, casting a wider net for customers. Captioned online video clips and advertisements also are indexed, increasing SEO.

Though captions have been around for decades, they have  become more ubiquitous as younger generations have gotten more accustomed to using them, especially on social media. Recent data has shown that as many as 26% of people use captions all or most of the time, even if they don’t necessarily need them, and younger viewers are even more likely to use them.

Audio Description

If you’re going to caption it, you should describe it, too. Audio description is a narrative description of a video’s visual elements. Descriptions can include onscreen actions, characters, costumes, or text appearing in graphics in the video. Audio description makes video content, presentations, and more, accessible for people who are blind or with low-vision.

In the same way that captions can be incorporated both on TV and in other areas of life so, too, can audio description.

Go to the Head of the Class  Audio description keeps virtual classroom instruction accessible. Audio description assists where instruction may include a large amount of visual representation of data, or rely heavily on demonstration.

Corporate Inclusion  Audio description keeps corporate meetings, presentations, or trainings accessible to all staff. Any company-wide presentation that may be heavy with on-screen graphics, charts, or graphs can benefit from audio description.

Just as captioning has caught on with viewers outside of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, so, too, has audio description started to become popular for people who aren’t blind or with low-vision. Many cite the ability to listen to shows or webinars while performing other tasks as a reason for using audio description. Others appreciate the inclusion of character’s facial expressions or actions in the audio description, which can help them pick up on cues they may have otherwise missed.

Transcripts

Transcripts are just one more way content is made accessible to a wider audience. As captions provide written text of the spoken words on TV or in an online meeting, transcripts are the text files of captioned events and contain everything that was captioned at the time of the event or program.

Just as captions can be included in a variety of ways, transcripts also have proven to be multifaceted and adaptable services, growing  as technologies and means of sharing video content evolves.

Teaching Tools Transcripts enable teachers to share a written summary of that day’s lessons, which can be used as an additional study guide.

Keep Current – Radio stations and podcasters use transcripts to support their news coverage, and governing bodies keep transcripts as a matter of public record.

Never Miss a Meeting  Many businesses use transcripts to help employees better retain information relayed in a video, or use transcripts of events to share content in real time with social media followers and customers.

Making it an Accessible New Year

All the above services and ways of including captions, audio description, and transcripts make learning more inclusive and immersive, keep events fun and/or informative, connect communities, and spur innovation. They also make sure organizations, businesses, institutions, and governing bodies are accessible as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Captions, audio description, and transcripts are all ways of ensuring accessibility and inclusion in the New Year.

To learn more about how you can use these services, check out our Viewer FAQ on our Resources page, which lists ways you can access captions and audio description. If you’re looking to make your business, organization, event center, or educational institution more accessible by including one or all of these services, contact our professionals today.