Videos are used in various forms in a range of areas nowadays. In a technology driven society, more and more services and education are being moved into the ‘cloud’ or internet. This means that people have far greater access to information and services than ever before.

However, people who are deaf or those who have reduced hearing face the access barrier of not being able to fully understand the messages in your videos unless they include captions.

Captions are the on-screen text descriptions that outline the video’s dialogue, introduce speakers, and describe all relevant sounds that are inaccessible to Deaf people and those with reduced hearing. These can be closed captions (meaning the viewer has to turn them on or off) or open captions (meaning they are burnt directly into the video, visible at all times.

Reliance on closed captions is not an inclusive approach in any environment beyond a personal viewing of a video. A person using closed captions would be familiar with how to use their preferred media software and capable of turning the closed captions on and off. However, in other environments, reliance on closed captions is not suitable.

Providing open captions is an inclusive approach that aligns well with the principles of universal design. These open captions can help anyone that is Deaf or has reduced hearing obviously, but they also benefit those people who are in a busy environment, such as train stations, airports, sports clubs and gymnasiums, cafes or the like.

If a promotional video is being played in those environments the advertising campaign might be missing its mark if people can not understand the message in the video.