Easily Add Captions, Audio Descriptions, and Image Descriptions To Your Website
If you’ve read our other articles on web accessibility, then you know how important it is for your website to be accessible to everyone. A lot of companies know they need to make their website accessible, but they might not have the time or know-how to tackle it themselves. Check out these resources that can help make your website accessible for all (easily!).
Captions are a text version of audio information and provide content to people with hearing disabilities. Some formats you might be most familiar with are subtitles or closed captioning.
They describe all of the sound in a video, including words that are spoken, sound effects, lyrics to music, and identification of off screen speakers. Captions can be found in most video streaming services, and you probably see them all the time, but it’s a different experience when trying to correctly add captions to your own video. You can use any video editing software to manually add captions, but it can be time consuming
One of the websites we recommend is CaptionSync by Automatic Sync Technologies. They hire professional transcribers and describers to make sure the captions are accurate and so you don’t have to wait a long time to receive them. All you have to do is submit your media to CaptionSync and they will deliver your captions to you via email, web download, or directly to your preferred video platform, though do note that there is a cost associated with this service. There are several time options based on how fast you need it done, but you can receive them within eight hours if you need it the same day. Other options are VEED and Ensemble Video.
An audio description is a separate audio track in a video that describes all of the visual information needed to understand the content and context. It helps people with visual disabilities fully understand and enjoy a video. Similar to captions, you can also use a video editing software to add an audio description.
If you do it yourself, you would have to record yourself describing all of the visual details in your video and put it in a separate track in the video editing software. You have to make sure it’s separate from the other audio tracks, so anyone watching your video can hear the original audio along with the audio description – think of it as similar to the cast commentary version of a film. If you don’t have the resources to DIY, CaptionSync and Ensemble Video also offer this function.
Image descriptions are text that describe the contents of an image, so people with visual disabilities know what the image looks like. They describe the visual details in an image such as the appearances of objects, people, spaces, and more. It is similar to audio descriptions since it describes visual details, but it describes an image instead of a video and people with visual disabilities have to use a screen reader to access it. Screen readers turn text into speech and Braille. When a screen reader comes across an image description, it reads the text in the description to the person using it.
Unlike captions and audio descriptions, there aren’t any websites that can generate image descriptions for you, but luckily, image descriptions don’t take as long to create as captions and audio descriptions do. When you’re writing the description, you should put all of the text in brackets and it should start with the words “Image Description.” The description should go right under the image, so the screen reader will read it first instead of reading any comments about it first. It should include any text that’s in the image and as many details as possible, including color, size, angle of the image, etc. If you write a lot of details, the person with a visual disability will be able to have more of an idea of what the image looks like. Many social media and web or blog hosting sites have a designated space that prompts users to fill in image descriptions or alternative text.