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Creating Accessible Media

Any kind of media file, be it video or audio, needs to be accessible in multiple formats so anyone is able to access the information.


Captions are simply a text version of audio content that is synchronized with the video.  Where this is essential to anyone with a hearing impairment, it is also beneficial for non-native English speakers to understand the video, make it possible to find content within the video and makes it possible to generate a transcript where anyone can click the text to watch that portion of the video.

Audio Description

An audio description is a separate narrative that essentially is describing the visual content for people who are unable to see the video.  There might be portions of the video where something is only presented visually such as displaying a graphic with no audio.  The audio description would essentially describe this part of the video and be added to the regular audio track for those that need the audio description.

Live Captioning and Description

If live events are being broadcast on a website, it may need to have live captioning in order to provide access for audience members who are deaf or hard of hearing.  A live description may be needed if visual content is not verbalized, such as a dramatic production.  There are services available for this, but you will need to check with the district to see if it is available.


A transcript is simply a text version of the media content.  A good transcript will capture not only the spoken audio, but have any on-screen text and descriptions of any visual information within the media.  Transcripts are beneficial to all people for addressing accessibility problems or technical limitations or if someone wants to quickly scan the information without watching the entire video.

Choosing an Accessible Media Player

When posting media on your website, it is important to consider formats that are fully accessible.  When you are selecting a media player plugin or module for your website or a service to host your videos, consider the following:

  • Does it support closed captioning?
  • Does it support audio descriptions?
  • Can the media player be operated with accessibility functions of devices?
  • Is the media player's buttons and controls considered "accessible" by screen readers and other accessibility devices?
  • Is the media format and player supported across all platforms and browsers?

See the Resources section on this page for help guides on video captioning and transcribing.