Choosing an Accessible Video Platform
Not all video platforms are created with accessibility in mind. Choosing the best platform for your videos is important.
Here are a few things you should consider when browsing for media players:
- Does the media player support closed captions?
- REMEMBER: All prerecorded video content must have accurate captions available. Closed captions are preferred.
- Can you operate the media player’s buttons and controls without a mouse?
- Are the media player’s buttons and controls properly labeled so they can be operated by a blind person using a screen reader?
- Does the media player support audio description in a way that enables users to toggle the narration on and off?
- Is the media player functional, including its accessibility features, across platforms and in all major browsers?
Recommended Video Platforms for Accessibility
Able Player is a free and open-source media player developed with accessibility in mind. It is currently the most accessible media player available.
Check out all the features of the Able Player on GitHub.
YouTube supports closed captioning. You can import captions from other sources, or write your own captions using the built-in subtitle editor. It also can create automatic machine generated captions that you can use as a starting point that you can then edit for higher accuracy.
You can save captions created through YouTube separate from the video as a caption file to use in other platforms.
It is possible to have a live human captioner type your captions for a YouTube live event. However, this requires third party software and hardware. YouTube’s Live Caption Requirements support page has more details.
YouTube is keyboard accessible. It’s not perfect, but you can access most of its features/functions via keyboard only.
YouTube does not currently support separate audio tracks for audio descriptions.
Most Popular Player
YouTube does have the benefit of being the most widely used media player especially for video. This means that most users are somewhat familiar with the player and its features.
Zoom meetings and webinars fully support closed captioning. A live human captioner can create captions. You can also turn on automatic machine generated captions via Zoom’s Live Transcription feature. Viewers can see these captions via subtitles or through a Live Transcription window.
If you record your Zoom event to the cloud, Zoom will create a caption file for your event. You can edit this caption file for accuracy using Zoom’s built-in editor. You can also download and upload it to other video platforms that support caption files.
Live Transcription Window
The Live Transcription window allows users to see the entire audio record of the meeting or webinar in text. This can be especially useful for going back to catch something a user missed. It also allows users to follow along at their own pace if the subtitles are too fast.
Zoom has a robust set of shortcuts designed to make using it accessible for keyboard only users. This includes “global” shortcuts that work for Zoom even when another program has focus.
Screen Reader Support
Zoom is compatible with most screen readers.
Panopto fully supports closed captions. Captions can be automatically generated and edited inside Panopto. You can also upload a caption file from another source. Panopto has options to overlay the captions on the video or place them under the video
All functionalities and links in Panopto are navigable via keyboard only. Panopto also has a few keyboard shortcuts to assist with quick commands like mute, and play/pause.
The built-in quiz feature is WCAG 2.1 level AA compliant.
Screen Reader Support
Panopto is screen reader compatible. It works best with JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver for Mac.
There are many other Accessible HTML5 Media Players & Resources out there. Do your research or ask the Digital Accessibility Office which one will work best for you.