Which groups benefit from accessible videos?

26 July 2023  
Illustration. Boy holds a big yellow heart to his chest.

An (online) video consists of visual and auditory information, which together convey a message or tell a story. But not everyone gets that information, or is able to understand or process that information properly. Think of the blind or visually impaired, or the deaf and hard of hearing. But also viewers or users with, for example, a cognitive disability or reading or learning problems. Video content should therefore also be accessible to people with disabilities. Scribit.Pro provides videos with subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, audio description, a transcript and, if requested, a sign translation. With this, videos meet the accessibility requirements of the WCAG guidelines. Why this is important, and for whom, will become clear in this blog.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 defines how to make web content more accessible for people with disabilities. This includes several target groups, including people with a visual and/or hearing impairment, but also people with autism, brain injury or, for example, people with a language deficiency. The elderly are also covered by the regulations. The purpose of the WCAG 2.1 guidelines is to ensure that web content becomes "barrier-free" for everyone. In 2018, it was determined that all websites of (semi-)government institutions must meet these accessibility requirements. Scribit.Pro's video player is a handy tool to actually publish accessible videos.

Many target groups benefit from digital accessibility

Making videos (and other web content) accessible is of great importance for various target groups. According to the Dutch Sign Center there are about 1.5 million people in the Netherlands alone who are deaf or hard of hearing. For this group of people subtitles are very important to be able to follow a video properly. Sign language is the mother tongue for those born deaf or people who have become deaf at a young age. They benefit much more from a sign translation. In addition, subtitling can also be useful, or even indispensable, for viewers with autism, reading or learning difficulties, for non-native speakers or for people with a cognitive disability.

A transcript can also be indispensable for these groups. Transcription offers the possibility to collect the information from a video without having to watch the video. A transcript, also known as a text alternative, combines the subtitles and image description of a video into a text file. This text contains all visual and auditory information. Scribit.Pro's unique software makes it possible to write this transcript after adding subtitles and audio description to a video.

There are approximately 300,000 people with a visual impairment in the Netherlands. About 200,000 of these are (severely) visually impaired and approximately 50,000 people are blind. For this group of people, audio description is a crucial tool for understanding or fully experiencing a video or other audiovisual production. With audio description (also known as image description), a voice describes all visual elements in the pauses between the dialogues. Think of a characterization of speakers or players, including a description of the actions, body language, facial expressions and time or place determinations. In short, it is about all the visual elements that tell the story together with the sounds. Scribit.Pro creates audio description - or allows the customer to do it themselves with our foolproof software -, converting the image description directly into a synthetic voice-over.

Also important for other groups

There are also various groups that are regularly forgotten when it comes to digital accessibility, while they desperately need support. This includes elderly people with reduced vision and/or concentration, or people who are seriously ill. For these groups it is important to have information available in the form of audio, because reading can be experienced as very tiring for them.

Even people who do not experience any auditory and/or cognitive problems can benefit from subtitling. It is not always possible to watch a video with sound, for example in a busy environment, in public transport or at the office. Subtitles ensure that a video can still be followed and that the viewer receives the relevant information in this way.

Better online findability

Finally, adding subtitles, audio description and transcription is also useful for the creator of the video itself. It is very beneficial for online findability in Google or other search engines. Search engines can find video content better when an image description and subtitles are added to the video. As a result, the video scores better in the search results and the target group can find the video better, which in turn leads to more views.

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