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Web Accessibility

Quick tips that everyone can use to make their websites and pages more accessible.

Audio & Video Captions

All audio and video uploaded to a university website or social media site must have captions. You can auto-generate captions in both YouTube and Facebook, but you must edit them to ensure complete accuracy. Guidelines require that captions be at least 99% accurate in order to be considered accessible. Even the best automated captioning services will mess up important information like names and proper nouns.

Getting Started

  1. Use the Libraries' captioning vendor. You can supply dictionaries of common words that get misspelled. They will also mark words that are unclear so we can go back and edit them. 
    1. Provide a dictionary - include the names of speakers, William & Mary, and any other jargon, campus places, or other names that may be present in the video.
    2. Select videos from the Libraries' YouTube account - you can pull in videos from YouTube and then publish the finalized captions back to YouTube without leaving the vendor's website.
    3. Download a transcript if desired.
    4. Download an SRT file of the captions if needed for other media platforms.
  2. When time is a constraint - upload the video to YouTube and use the autogenerated captions. The captions can be replaced afterwards.
    1. If you only do the YouTube auto-generated captions, you must manually review them.
  3. Share the YouTube link to other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram rather than uploading the video to each platform. 

Open Captions or Closed Captions?

Open captions are "burned in" to the video itself - they are always present and cannot be turned off. Closed captions exist as a separate file alongside the video and can be turned on and off.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) AA 2.1 do not specify a preference for either open or closed captions. Closed captions are more flexible: they can scale to be larger on small devices like phones and can exist in multiple languages. Open captions are useful as a fallback for platforms like Instagram and TikTok that don't support closed captions.

In general, W&M Libraries prefers closed captions. Our captioning vendor provides additional useful services like changing the placement of the captions, a library of terms to avoid misspelling names, and Word doc transcripts in addition to the caption files at no additional cost. They also support YouTube and can push finalized captions out directly to YouTube so you don't need to upload the files manually.