Closed captions and audio descriptions are alternative methods used to convey information from video content. This article teaches you about closed captions, audio descriptions, and when you should use them.
On this page:
- Closed captions
- Audio descriptions
- When should I use closed captions and audio descriptions?
- How can I ensure my media is fully accessible?
Closed captions are a written track of the dialogue and who’s speaking it. They also offer indications of other non-speech sounds, such as breathing or coughing. Unlike subtitles, closed captions provide important details about what is happening in the video rather than exclusively what a person is saying.
The following example is a video with closed captions.
Audio descriptions are a narration of the visual events in a video. They describe the visual experience to consumers who may require an alternative to visual information. Audio descriptions are used in place of the original audio.
The following example is a video with audio descriptions.
When should I use closed captions and audio descriptions?
Think about your target audience. What do they need to understand the information? The table below outlines several guidelines to help you decide when you should use closed captions and audio descriptions.
|Consideration||Closed captions||Audio descriptions|
|Who they serve||People who are deaf or hard of hearing.||People who are blind or have low vision.|
|How they're incorporated||Into the visuals of the video.||Into the audio of the video.|
|What they convey||Spoken dialogue, who is talking, and non-speech sounds.||What is happening on-screen.|
|How they're created||Captioner adds subtitle text file, audio of the original video stays the same.||
A new audio track is added on top of the original soundtrack of the video.
How can I ensure my media is fully accessible?
If you aren’t sure whether your media is fully accessible, we recommend providing a transcript for your video. You can add transcriptions in the description on platforms such as YouTube, as a separate section beneath the player on your site, as a downloadable text file with your video, or next to your video in an accessible player. Providing a transcript makes your video reach Level AAA accessibility conformance.