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Create Accessible Media

Create Accessible Media

Media-based course materials help to convey concepts and can bring course information to life. We require all videos in Xen.ed courses to include timed text captions in SubRip (SRT) format. The Xen.ed media player displays caption files in an interactive sidebar that benefits a variety of learners, including learners who are hard of hearing or whose native language differs from the primary language of the media. This built-in universal design mechanism enhances your course’s accessibility. When you create your course, you need to factor in time and resources for creating timed text captions.

1. Timed Text Captions

Timed text captions are essential to opening up a world of information for persons with hearing loss or literacy needs by making the readable equivalent of audio content available to them in a synchronized manner. Globally hearing loss affects about 10% of the population to some degree. It causes disability in 5% (360 to 538 million) and moderate to severe disability in 124 million people. Timed text captions also be helpful for learners whose native languages are languages other than the primary language of the media or who have cognitive conditions that benefit from visual. The Xen.ed media player displays timed text captions as links in an interactive area adjacent to the video, which allows all learners to navigate to a specific section of the video by selecting some location within the caption text.
Text caption files start with the text version of a video’s spoken content and any non-spoken audio that is important to understanding the context of the video, such as [BUZZER], [LAUGHTER], or [THUNDER]. If you created your video using a script, you have a great start on creating the text caption file. Simply review the recorded video and update the script as needed. Proper editing should maintain both the original meaning, content, and essential vocabulary.
For situations where the video content includes a lot of information that cannot be eaisly described in audio, you can include references to an annotations file in the SRT file. Example: [See Note 5a].
Text captions can be uploaded to YouTube along with the video to create a timed text file in SubRip (SRT) format. YouTube can also automatically create caption files. Though you’ll need to copy-edit the auto-generated captions to correct the inevitable errors, this feature can still be a big time saver because the auto-generated timestamps are generally quite accurate.
Otherwise, you will need to create the timed text caption file yourself or engage someone to do it. There are many companies that will create timed text captions (captions that synchronize the text with the video using time codes) for a fee. SRT files should be associated with video components in Studio. See Working with Video Components for details on how to associate text captions with videos.
If you choose to create your own timed text caption files yourself, you must follow these guidelines.

Each caption frame should not be on screen for less than three seconds.

Each caption frame must not be on screen for less than two seconds.

Each caption frame should not exceed more than 2 lines.

Each caption frame must not exceed more than 3 lines.

Each line should not exceed more than 32 characters

All caption frames should be precisely time synched to the audio.

When multiple speakers are present, it is sometimes helpful to identify who is speaking, especially when the video does not make this clear.

Non-speech sounds like [MUSIC] or [LAUGHTER] should be added in square brackets.

2. Descriptions in Video

When you create video segments, consider how you will convey information to learners who cannot see what is happening in a video. Actions that are only visible on screen without any audible equivalent are not accessible to learners who have visual impairments.
For many topics, you can fully cover concepts in the spoken presentation. If it is practical to do so, you should audibly describe visual events as they happen in the video. For example, if you are illustrating dropping a coin and a feather together from a height, you should consider narrating your actions as you perform them. Ask yourself if your video would make sense if the learner were only listening to the audio content, for example while they were driving a car.

3. Downloadable Transcripts

For both audio and video transcripts, consider including a text file that learners can download and review using tools such as word processing, screen reader, magnifier/reflow, or literacy supprt software. All learners can use transcripts of media-based learning materials for study and review.

4. Accessible Media Resources

Accessible Digital Media Guidelines provides detailed advice on creating online video and audio with accessibility in mind.

Captioning Key by the National Association for the Deaf provides excellent guidance on creating described and captioned media.

Closed Captioning & Subtitling Standards in IP Video Programming by 3PlayMedia discusses best practices in this recorded webinar and white paper.

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