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Video and Audio Content Accessibility Resources

For people to enjoy your video and audio content (aka time-based media), these should be presented on your WordPress site using semantic headings and descriptions as well as captions, transcripts, and descriptive audio tracks.

Why? Presenting your time-based media content correctly means that people can access it on any device, the way they prefer and regardless of any accessibility requirements. For example, over 80% of people watch videos without sound on Facebook and Instagram.

It’s not only a requirement that all Boise State time-based media be published with captions, but it means people will actually stop scrolling to watch your video.

This page is intended to help you understand how to present your video and audio content so that people can access it easily. It’s easier than you might think.

Publishing Video and Audio Content

When we publish video and audio content we must consider that people may find these on our WordPress sites as well as the media hosting platform (YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Instagram, SoundCloud, etc.). As such we must contextualize the content in both places.

Basic publishing guidelines:

  • In WordPress: Use semantic headings (H2, H3, etc.) for the video content section of a page or the page title if the video is the primary delivery modality. For tips on how to add headings in WordPress see Best Practices: Outline Headings.
  • Provide a short description of the content in the video on the WordPress page as well as in the post or description on the media hosting platform.
  • Add captions on the media hosting platform.
  • Include the full transcript or a link to the full transcript on your WordPress page and in the post or description on the media hosting platform.

Example of Video Content Published on WordPress and YouTube

Here’s an example. OIT published a video about Department Print Services on YouTube and this content is also part of the Department Print Services page on the OIT website. Since people may encounter this content in either location, we want to be sure they have full access to the content from both places.

On YouTube

We published the video to the OIT YouTube channel and provided a title, description that summarizes the content of the video and a link to the transcript and additional information. This way, people who find the video on YouTube have full access to the content. It’s important to consider that YouTube may be the only context where people experience your content.

The title here lets anyone who finds this video know that it’s specific to Boise State, it’s about department print services, and that these services are provided by the IT department at Boise State.

In the description, we provide a link to more information about Department Print Services for those looking for this. Since the video is short, we were able to publish the full transcript in the description also. For longer videos, you may have to add a link to the transcript on your Boise State WordPress site.

Basically, we provide all the necessary context for someone to enjoy the video on YouTube, independent of how we plan to use the video on our WordPress page.

On WordPress

On our Department Print Services WordPress page, we embedded the video using the video + text panel. This provides a semantic heading (H2) for the video on that page. We put the video transcript right below the video as a description of the video as well as providing this content in an additional modality. Video content isn’t accessible, text is.

Similarly, for the Max’s Minute videos, we simply use the page title as the semantic heading (H1), add the video at the top of the page, provide a short description of the video (usually the same description that we use on the YouTube video) and then include the transcript.

When to Include Captions, Transcripts, and/or Descriptive Audio

Knowing when to include captions, transcripts, and/or descriptive audio tracks can be a little confusing. Use the questions and statements below to understand what is required to make your video accessible. Going through the list you may find that your video requires captions as well as a descriptive transcript.

Based on information from Planning Audio and Video Media Checklist from the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative.

Visit “Captions, Transcripts, and Audio Descriptions” on the WebAIM website to understand each of these.

Video Content

Does Your Video Include Speech?

If your video includes speech or dialogue, you must provide captions that identify speakers, dialogue, and any important sounds.

Does Your Video Contain Visual Information Not Described by Dialogue?

If your video contains text, stepping through a process, charts and/or graphs, and these are not described in the dialogue, you need to include a descriptive transcript of the video or an audio description version of the video.

  • Example: montage videos with music and no speech, PowerPoint presentation recordings with visual information (images, charts, graphs, etc.) that is not described with dialogue in the video.
  • The video, Come Visit the Help Desk at The Zones includes captions and a descriptive transcript since there is no dialogue that describes what we see on screen. Note that people can find a link to the transcript of this video in the description of this video on YouTube video.

My Video Does Not Contain Speech or Other Audio

If your video does not contain speech or other audio content that is needed to understand the content, simply add a note on the media hosting platform and your WordPress page that captions are not included because there is no substantive audio content.

  • Example: a video that only shows a process but does not have dialogue or audio.

Audio Content

If your audio file does not contain speech or dialogue, simply provide a title or heading (H2, for example) and description of the audio content.

  • Content type: instrumental music or sound effects

If your audio file does contain speech or dialogue, provide a transcript and/or a descriptive transcript of the audio content.

  • Content type: podcasts, audio interviews, music with lyrics

How to Create and Add Captions at Boise State

Here’s how to create and add captions using Boise State-supported video tools. Our recommendation: If you intend to upload your video to YouTube, we recommend recording from a script or transcribing the video when it’s edited, and uploading this as a text file to YouTube. YouTube will set the timings for you. Alternatively, Camtasia Studio on Windows provides a simple-to-use caption editor.

Adding Captions on YouTube

Here’s how to “Add your own closed captions” on YouTube.

Adding Captions on Camtasia Studio

Camtasia Studio for Windows has an easy-to-use caption editor.

Adding Captions on Panopto

This FAQ on Captions in Panopto provides a lot of great information about captioning and transcripts as well as how-to instructions.

Using a Vendor to Caption your Videos

Finding out that the video you created or a live stream you are hosting needs captions can be a shock, and you may not have the time or expertise to do that yourself. That’s when you could use a vendor to caption the video or provide live captions for a live stream. Auto-generated captions won’t cut it, so here are some potential vendors you could look at:

Additional Video Accessibility Resources


For questions or assistance determining accessibility requirements for your media, contact

To learn even more about creating accessible media, check out the Documents and Accessible Media Micro-Certification Badge Course.