It’s no secret that dynamic content like audio and video make blog articles, social media posts and websites more appealing for your audience. It encourages people to stay and consume your content in its entirety rather than scrolling through. It pushes them to convert, whether that be to purchase something through your eCommerce site or to sign up for a monthly newsletter. People are suckers for the added value of audio and video.
However, it isn’t enough to simply throw these elements onto a page. For starters, in order to get your content on the map, you need accurate metadata to rank it in search engines. Keywords, video description, descriptive headers, the like. It needs to be searchable and able to be categorized.
You also need to consider accessibility standards. There are conditions that your content must meet to be considered accessible to most or all abilities. There are also additional measures you can take to be sure that your content can be consumed by any web users who are interested. Accessibility makes your content stand out among others that may not strive for the same standards. This can give you a significant leg up over the competition in your subject area or industry, especially when it comes to organic reach. A well-functioning web page is likely to be passed on from one person to another who share common interests. If it’s a mess, nobody will want to spend time reading it, much less recommend it to a friend.
There are a variety of ways to produce and disseminate content in an accessible way. Considerations should be made from creation to publication. Let us explain.
Creating Accessible Content
We recommend keeping accessibility in mind from the get-go. When you’re producing audio or video content, consider what you can do to make it easy for all sorts of people to listen or watch. There are a few ways to do this.
Don’t include flashing lights or colours in videos. This has been known to trigger symptoms of epilepsy and other disorders. This is an easy courtesy and generally leads to better user experience regardless of ability. People don’t want to be startled or made uncomfortable when visiting a web page.
What Do They Know Already?
Consider your audience and how broad that group may be. Consider not just viewing and hearing impairments, but also cognitive impairments when making accessible audio & video content. If you want to guarantee that more people will be able and willing to consume your content, don’t use hyper-specific jargon above a basic knowledge level. You usually want the typical person to be able to grasp the information you’re giving them.
Rated G For General Audiences
Make your content age-appropriate. Controversial language like cussing can deter a large audience of people. Unless the topic is for mature audiences only, keep your language appropriate. This also relates to the mood of your website and the topic. Consider how your content should be perceived. Ensure that your video or audio is mood-appropriate—if you’re dealing with a topic like revolutionary research, use an enthusiastic tone. Some content may call for a serious, objective perspective.
Wrap It Up Or Expand
Lastly, keep your content the appropriate length for the topic it’s addressing. A video on how to cook rice doesn’t need to be 20 minutes long. A pressing interview with the Prime Minister of Canada shouldn’t be five minutes long.
Audiences have a certain expectation going into web content. Some audiences perceive content differently from others. Keeping it appropriate and consistent makes it easier to consume, follow along with and gain something from. Cognitive impairments can make it difficult to follow along with complex, unpredictable videos or audio files. Consider how your ideas flow from beginning to end, and stay on track. Your viewers and listeners will be able to, too.
Make additional considerations for people who speak different languages and how they might be able to consume your content. This can be addressed by incorporating transcription into your online content.
Audio & Video Accessibility Expectations
Video & audio files add tons of value to websites. Google favours sites with video because they’re harder to produce and are much more unique. This helps websites spring to the top of search engine results. Web pages with transcripts earned 16% more revenue than pages that had video-only content. Digital strategy only stands to gain value by creating accessible video and audio content using transcription services. The financial benefits for content creators can be found in our transcription marketing article. But what does it do for the overall goal of web accessibility?
Having a full transcription of your video content allows you to provide closed captioning for your viewers. Users who are hearing impaired can follow along moment-for-moment, not just what people are saying in the video but also what they’re doing, and other assorted sounds. Don’t let any of the context of your audio & video content get lost.
Speak will pull relevant keywords and topics from your transcript, which can be used to craft a relevant and straight-forward video description. Metadata will help users find your content easily and is super helpful in making accessible audio & video content. Speak will also pinpoint each time a speaker says anything. Your transcript will help tell readers and viewers who is speaking when with accurate, clickable timestamps. Timestamps are key for viewers with cognitive impairments, as well as the capacity to pause and play your content. Do not set your videos or audio files to auto-play. This can be confusing and frustrating for users who may be using assistive devices to navigate your web page, or who are trying to make sense of other assets (text and visuals) on the page at the same time.
Transcripts can be easily translated into other languages, opening up many doors for audiences who may not completely understand (if at all) the language you produced the content in originally. Widening your potential target audience is a massive perk of making accessible audio & video content.
So Why Not Get Accessible?
When your audio & video content has been made and is ready to be published online, getting it transcribed is as easy as one click. Transcribing for accessibility is a valuable way to pay it forward and foster a more inclusive online environment.