Videos | Essential Practices for Content Creators

Videos and/or audio recordings should have alternative ways to relay their information. Closed captioning and links to transcripts solve this issue and are beneficial for all audiences.

Closed Captioning For Videos

Closed captions are text transcriptions of spoken words and audio cues that are displayed while the video is playing. Subtitles are similar to captioning, but without audio cues. This gives people an alternative solution if they are unable to hear the information either because of a hearing issue, or environmental factors preventing audio from being usable (eg a quiet zone in a library or a noisy room).

There are several ways to create captions:

  1. Manually
  2. By professional services
  3. Auto-captioning (Youtube only)

Closed Captioning Files

These files are simple text files that list all the text with a timestamp of when it appears on screen. They can also contain meta-data like “description” and “chapter list”. Popular video streaming sites such as Youtube and Vimeo let you upload your own .vtt files. YouTube has a built-in function to create captions for you. They translate, to the best of their ability, what’s said in the video. You can do this as you upload a new video, or edit an existing video. However you must review and edit the translation as it will nearly always need some corrections, and audio cues added. Vimeo does not provide the same function so you must generate your own file and upload it with your video.


Transcripts are the full, text-equivalent of video. They describe all interactions in a video and can be created using a speech-to-text software or manually. You can provide a link to the transcript below the video on the webpage that contains the video. It will usually be a separate document because it will be lengthy, but if short could also be inline on the webpage.

Additional Resources

Go to: Getting Started: Web Accessibility