David Saxberg, our Inclusion Advisor, writes about his experiences with video content. Illustration of a modern computer with a video player on the screen.

As a screen reader user, I understand how important it is to have an accessible option for video on your website. Below are my key tips to ensure your content is more accessible for people with a visual impairment.

1. Make sure that video playback does not start automatically

This is very frustrating for me as a screen reader user because it can be confusing to navigate a website when there is video playing in the background. When this happens, audio from both the video and my screen reader will be playing at the same time, making it impossible for me to navigate through the website to stop the content. If I can start and stop the video myself, it will allow me to use the website much more easily. I can then choose whether to watch the video or not myself.

2. Label buttons for volume and playback position

It is important that I can adjust the volume and playback position in the video and audio content. If all the sliders are labeled correctly, they are more likely to be detected by the screen reader. This allows me to adjust each slider so I can access your content more easily.

3. Add audio descriptions

Videos are great for those who can see. However, if you cannot see you can miss a lot of content. Audio descriptions describe visual elements that can’t be picked up just from listening. This might include descriptions of clothing, environment, actions and gestures and text. Audio descriptions are placed in the video where needed, whenever there is a gap in dialogue or speech.

For example, if someone is mixing a cake then they might hold up the bowl for the viewer to see the batter and say, “It should look like this”. An audio description would say something like ‘The batter is a thick homogenous consistency’.

I have watched movies both with audio description and without. I find audio description to be fantastic because it gives me, the blind or partially sighted user, an enhanced experience of knowing what is happening in the video, in the same way that a sighted person would.

These tips are a good starting point for making your video content more inclusive for people with visual impairment. But don’t forget there are other ways of making your video and audio content accessible for audiences with different barriers.

Would you like to catch up with me to chat more about making your content accessible? you can set up a free half-hour session by making a booking in my Appointlet calendar or give me a call on 0478 299 419.