YouTube Accessibility

In this article, we will discuss how to make your YouTube videos more accessible by adding captions; and how to utilize those same captions to make your native video posts on Facebook more accessible as well.

As you probably already know, YouTube is a popular video sharing website and app in which Creators can post original video content; and are able add the videos to as branded Channel, with total control over playback and viewing settings, as well as accessibility.

Why make your YouTube Videos Accessible?

You may ask yourself, what advantage is there to me, the Content Creator, in making my videos more accessible on my YouTube Channel?

  1. First off, increasing the number of people in the general population that consume multimedia content on their phones using autoplay settings on mute inevitably increases your reach, sharability, likes and overall views…and we all want our videos seen by more people! 
  2. Secondly, it’s the right thing to do; to make your videos as inclusive as possible for the largest possible audience, which includes the blind and partially sighted, and deaf and hard of hearing users as well.
  3. Thirdly, it’s an accessibility “best practice” to shoot your videos using integrated described video, otherwise known as audio description. Short of that, add narrated video description to the post-production process. While both are great ideas for making your content more accessible, for the sake of this “how-to” video with AMI’s host Anthony McLachlan, we will focus on adding captions, or subtitles, to your YouTube videos.

YouTube Accessibility: Step by Step

  1. Assuming that you’ve already uploaded your video to YouTube by clicking on the Upload arrow in the top right corner of the screen, you will eventually click forward to the Info & Settings tab in Edit Mode. 
  2. After adding a thumbnail, title, description, tags and playlist setting for your video, it’s time to click forward to the Subtitles/Closed Captions tab, in the right-hand corner of the inner screen. *Always remember to save your changes before tabbing forward.
  3. After a certain amount of time (less than 10 minutes for most short-form videos), YouTube will Auto-generate a caption file for your video. 
  4. Every video uploaded to YouTube gets an Auto-caption file, as long as the Captions box is checked to “on” in the Playback Advanced Settings. The Auto-caption technology has improved greatly over the last year, with YouTube claiming to have cut the error rate in half. The Auto-caption file is a great starting point for creating perfect video captions. While you could create a new caption file from scratch, or add it from a 3rd party caption service (drift cursor over blue bar in video), using the Automatic caption file shortens the process, and makes captioning available and inexpensive for all users – which is very inclusive.
  5. Simply click on the grey Automatic caption bar, then click on the grey edit button in the upper right corner. This allows you to alter the transcription – over on the left – or the timings – which are underneath the video. The timings should be dead-on; but in altering the transcript, you get a chance to make sure your captions are: error free; grammatically correct; and that the spellings names, organizations and places are spot-on.
  6. *Remember, YouTube Auto generated captions are great - but not perfect – so someone always needs to double and triple check them before hitting Publish.
  7. Once you are done altering the timings and transcript, Save Changes, and watch through for any errors. Now your video is ready for public consumption (show changing to public from private in video).
  8. Remember that within the YouTube caption settings - found on the bottom right corner in the video player - you can change the placement, size and colour for your captions to meet your organizational, design and accessibility needs. Just use the underlined Options tab to do so.

Use Accessible YouTube Videos for Facebook

And most interesting of all, from within the Subtitles/Closed Captions tab, you can export your published captions to be used on Facebook! Under the Actions pulldown tab on the left-hand side of the screen, simply scroll down to export an .SRT file.
The .SRT file will land in your downloads folder, and with a little altercation in the naming convention, this is an easy and inexpensive way to create caption files for your Facebook videos.
*For a more detailed look at YouTube captions and how they work with Facebook, please visit our Facebook Accessibility page.

More information on Accessible Social Media

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