With over 4 million videos viewed daily on YouTube[ref]YouTube Statistics[/ref] competing for our attention, what do you think I do when I find a video does not have captions?
There are times when I do not watch a video without turning on the sound. I don’t need to since I am deaf but there are times I do when I have my hearing aids on.
Three reasons why captions matter.
It’s a good question to ask when thinking about how to ensure your website is accessible to everyone. It is not clear whether people ask me what I do when I come across a video that is not captioned because I am deaf.
Regardless of the reason, it is a valid question.
- Captions allow you to be accessible.
- Captions allows you to brand your business.
- Captions allows you to be understood in multiple languages.
Whether it is posting on Facebook or YouTube or even live-streaming, if the video does not have captioning, the odds are very likely your viewer might not watch it. In fact, Facebook announced that their members watch videos with captions longer than videos without captions.[ref]Capture attention on Facebook.[/ref]
Stop the video and move on.
I know that seems harsh. However, it is the reality of the Internet. Accessibility is a key ingredient of a successful website including videos. The powers that be on the Internet has made it very clear that if something is not accessible, then something that is accessible will be rewarded for the effort.
The reward can be anything from appearing in the first page of the search results to viral growth via social networking to imitation which is the sincerest form of flattery.
Leave a comment.
If it is a topic that I am interested in learning more about, I will leave a comment. There are some people who do not like being told what to do so instead of asking them to caption their videos, I try to word it in a way that makes them aware their video does not have captions.
For example, “Can you add captions so I can watch your video?”
Let them know you are interested in watching their video. This method is not always successful but it does work. Especially on YouTube, they turn on auto-captioning which is not perfect but a step in the right direction.
And on occassion, they make an effort to add captions to ensure their video is captioned accurately.
Warning about auto-captioning.
I must take a moment here to raise awareness about auto-captioning. As stated on their
These automatic captions are generated by machine learning algorithms, so the quality of the captions may vary. [ref]YouTube Help page on using automatic captioning.[/ref]
If you are interested in captioning your video, I encourage you to check out 3Play Media’s How To blog on adding captions.
Lead by example.
Everyone has an opinion on the right way to do things. It doesn’t necessarily mean they agree with you. For example, I watch sign language videos without captioning. Some of these videos do not have captions which bothers me.
From time to time, I get comments from people telling me while they enjoy watching sign language videos, they are unable to understand it without captions or a transcript for a variety of reasons.
Share your thoughts.
I am curious to learn from you what you do if a video does not have captioning. Whether you are producing the video or watching it, what do you do?