One of the questions I frequently receive from teachers filming videos for their classes is about if there is anything that they can do to create accessible video lectures for students who are blind or that have low vision. While I talk a lot about adding audio description to content to help make it more accessible, the truth is that video lectures do not always need additional audio tracks added, and many can be made accessible from the start. Here are my tips for creating inclusive and accessible video lectures for visually impaired audiences, inclusive of blindness and low vision.
So why is it important to create inclusive and accessible video lectures? Here are a few of the ways I benefit from having access to video lectures as a person with low vision:
Besides incorporating descriptions into video lectures, it is also strongly recommended that users add captioning to their videos as well. There are many different captioning tools out there, and I have linked a post below about a video accessibility certification that provides more information about captioning.
Audio description, sometimes referred to as descriptive audio or described video, is an additional narrator track that provides visual information for people who otherwise would not be able to see it. Audio description is provided during natural pauses in dialogue so it does not distract from the video. Occasionally, describers may pause the video themselves and add description if there are no natural pauses available.
If users are creating their own videos, they don’t necessarily need to add a secondary audio description track to make their videos accessible for blind and low vision audiences, because they can incorporate elements of audio description into their videos. However, they will want to make sure that all relevant visual information is described onscreen and that someone would be able to watch the video with their eyes closed and still understand everything that is going on. For users who prefer to have a separate audio track that goes into detail about on-screen visuals, I recommend adding pauses to the video and including extended detailed descriptions or posting the video on YouTube and using the free YouDescribe tool to create descriptions that can be easily accessed.
Helpful things to include when creating accessible video lectures for visually impaired audiences consists of the following:
Things to exclude when creating accessible video lectures for visually impaired audiences consists of the following:
One of the most useful things that people can do when creating accessible video lectures is to provide a copy on on-screen materials so that audience members can follow along and view the materials using their own assistive technology. I highly recommend using a tool such as the Accessibility Checker built-in to Microsoft Office to help with creating accessible documents and using good design practices when structuring a document.
I am so glad to see that more and more teachers are taking the time to learn how to create accessible video lectures for visually impaired audiences, as well as others who can benefit from the enhanced descriptions when taking notes or following along with lectures. I hope that this post on creating inclusive and accessible video lectures is helpful for others as well!
By Veronica Lewis/Veronica With Four Eyes, www.veroniiiica.com