Remember that excruciatingly boring meeting last week when your boss asked you to take notes? As if it wasn’t bad enough you had to change out of your sweatpants and get to the office, now you’re stuck in a conference room with the guy who swears “It’s just allergies.” 

Seeing as though you’re constantly “failing upward,” you only wrote down “the takeaways” – decorated with that weird S thing you drew in 5th grade.   

Suffice it to say, you suck at taking notes. 

And just when you thought you’d gotten away with it, the regional manager’s secretary sends an email asking for the meeting “minutes.” Yeah, you’re screwed. 

Now imagine that every time you needed a video transcript or closed captions, the person left in charge of that was about as good at it as you are at keeping a job.

At Hackstone, we want to save you from yourself. 

Maybe you’re not so good at your job. What if you could be the GOAT at making your videos accessible? 

As we’ve touched on before, video marketing is king and it helps companies like yours rake in the money. Because everyone’s doing it, we should make sure it’s easy for everyone to access it. 

In this blog, we’re going to briefly explain ADA compliance for videos, give you tips, and leave you with a video accessibility checklist. Whether you’re tackling DIY video production or making the smart move to work with an agency, video accessibility is critical to ensure equitable usability and impact.

ADA Video Compliance

To start with, show your boss you did your homework and be an evangelist for the benefits that come with making your content accessible:

  1. Promotes inclusivity: Creating accessible online ads and commercials has a positive societal impact by building a more inclusive digital ecosystem.
  2. Expands reach: Accessible content means you aren’t excluding anyone who otherwise might be interested in what you have to say.
  3. Ups your game: Better online navigation, paying attention to descriptions and captions, and other accessible-minded elements actually improve the experience for every user.
  4. Boosts SEO: Essential accessibility features like alt text for images and video transcripts feed the Google machine and act as search engine optimization tools.
  5. Ensures compliance: Whether you’re required to follow ADA rules or have corporate goals to get in line with official Web Content Accessibility Guidelines – or simply just want to skate ahead and be good advocates for accessibility, taking steps to enhance your video content will get you there.  

To recap, it’s a win-win and we want to help you get better at it. Below, we’ll show you how to transform yourself into the one people in your office turn to for answers to questions like:

  • How do I make my video ADA-compliant?
  • What do videos need to be accessible?
  • Hey, aren’t you the guy that we fired last week?

Creating Accessible Video Content 

Accessibility in video encompasses making content perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust for all users, regardless of their abilities. We said that well, didn’t we? Actually, we didn’t say that. This nice chap (video link) from the UK government accessibility team said it and he has a cool accent.  

Making your video accessible means you have built-in features for people with visual impairments, hearing loss or deafness, limited dexterity, cognitive impairments, and more. By prioritizing video accessibility, creators not only ensure inclusivity but also open doors to a vast audience that may otherwise be excluded from their content.

As with any topic, the more you research and put these practices in place, the better your results. To get started, we’ve made a basic checklist. At the end of this article, we’ll point you to recommended articles and resources you should check out to go deeper.

Smiling friendly therapist talking in sign language on video call

Video Accessibility Checklist 

  1. Closed Captions: Ensures people with hearing impairments can access the dialogue and sound effects. It also benefits viewers in noisy environments or situations where sound cannot be played.
  2. Audio Descriptions: This includes verbal explanations of visual content to help videos be accessible to those with visual impairments. Describe scenes, actions, and other visual elements to ensure audio descriptions are complete.
  3. Transcripts: This benefits those who prefer reading or use assistive technologies like screen readers. Video transcripts should include all spoken dialogue, narration, and relevant audio information.
  4. Accessible Video Players: Built-in features, such as customizable captions and audio description settings, ensure a seamless viewing experience. 
  5. Color and Font: Choose easy-to-read fonts with sufficient color contrast for text. This enhances readability for individuals with visual impairments or cognitive disabilities. Avoid using color as the sole means of conveying information.
  6. Representation: Engage with the whole community and bring diversity in every sense of the word into your content, including affirming on-screen representation and inclusion of people with different abilities.
  7. Keyboard Accessibility: Use video players that can be easily navigated using keyboard controls. This also extends to interactive elements in a video (like a link or subscribe button).
  8. Testing and Feedback: Include people with lived experience and people with disabilities to evaluate the accessibility of your video content. User testing can help identify any barriers or challenges and drive improvements.

What Do Videos Need to Be Accessible?

A great place to start is the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). We highly recommend the resources from W3C to ensure your team understands the online needs of people with disabilities and how video content can enhance the user experience. (This is the original source, by the way, for the smart things that the British guy says in the video linked above). 

Additional resources include:

While all of us support video accessibility, we understand deploying features consistently can be difficult without proper knowledge and prior experience. Working with a professional video production crew can help ensure your next shoot or digital ad launch meets this important standard. At Hackstone, we make commercials for people who hate commercials – and that’s everyone – so we take pride in making your product accessible to allGet in touch with our team today to get started!