Usability & Web Accessibility – Multimedia

Posted by Yale University | Date Accessed: August 15, 2022


Provide alternatives for audio and video on a website. Include controls so that the user can stop, play, and pause the content.


It is necessary for video and multimedia to include synchronized captions and transcripts. If a video has narration, it is also best practice for narration to describe the actions in the video, such that a blind person listening to the video can understand what is happening on the screen. For example, in a screen capture video showing how to use a piece of software, the narrator should describe which buttons or menu items are being selected, and how the screen changes in reaction to those clicks.

Who benefits from closed captioning?

  • Individuals with hearing loss or hearing impairments
  • People for whom English is not their first language
  • New readers
  • Individuals in noisy environments
  • People with learning disabilities
  • All of us

Captioning Your Media: Best Practices & Options

The Digital Accessibility Team has created short instructional videos, viewable on YouTube, to guide you through the process of captioning your media.

Captioning Your Media: Best Practices & Options(link is external)

PowerPoint slides(link is external) for Captioning Your Media: Best Practices & Options

Captions for Live Events

Captions for Live Events

Post-production closed caption services

Yale has established Preferred Vendor Agreements with two caption service companies, 3Play Media and Rev. These agreements provide discounted rates (3Play) and superior customer service (Rev) for Yale-affiliated users. Use one of these two vendors for videos that need a high degree of accuracy, such as for a student who needs captioning for a course lecture or for public videos you will post on your website.

3Play Media(link is external) : High accuracy, audio description available, HIPAA compliant with annual penetration testing, 1 to 2 business days turnaround. Instructions for using 3Play(link is external).

Rev(link is external) : High accuracy, paid service, 24 hours or less for videos under 30 mins. Instructions for using Rev(link is external).

Caption editors: Free to the Yale community


You can manually upload captions or use the automatic speech recognition (ASR) feature in Panopto(link is external), Yale’s media management platform in Canvas. Please note that captions created through ASR are not 100% accurate and should be reviewed and edited before being used for your content.

You can find detailed directions for captioning your videos in Panopto (link is external)on the Canvas @ Yale Help Site.


YouTube (link is external): Platforms like YouTube can automatically generate captions. Those captions may be used as a starting point, but they are too unreliable to be sufficient. When using YouTube automatic captions, it is important to edit the caption file.

You can access this service in YouTube two different ways:

  1. Through your personal Gmail account.
  2. You can also log in to a Yale-affiliated YouTube account via EliApps. If you do not have an EliApps account please contact the relevant ITS Support Provider(link is external) to request one.

Directions for creating captions in YouTube.


If your video is longer than 15 minutes, you will need to Enable Longer Videos before you can upload and caption it.

YouTube describes how to enable longer videos(link is external) in 4 easy steps.

Closed caption services: Other

The vendors listed below are all trusted captioning and transcription services.

CaptionSync(link is external) :  High accuracy, paid service, 8 hours to 3 business days turnaround. Instructions for using CaptionSync(link is external).

Cielo24(link is external) : High accuracy, paid service, 3 hours to 2 business days turnaround. Instructions for using Cielo24(link is external). is external) : High accuracy, paid services, 4 hour turnaround. Uses artificial intelligence in addition to human transcriptionists. Instructions for using is external).

Trint(link is external) : High accuracy, paid service, extremely fast turnaround.–often within an hour. Uses artificial intelligence and may require user to edit captions or transcripts. Instructions for using Trint(link is external).

Captioning editors: Other

NCAM (WGBH) CADET(link is external) : Free, do-it-yourself caption editor. Instructions for using CADET(link is external).

Amara(link is external) : Free, do-it-yourself caption editor. Good translation capabilities. Allows online collaboration. Use when you don’t need your video to remain private. Instructions for using Amara.(link is external)

Audio Descriptions:

Our preferred vendor for Audio Descriptions is 3Play Media. Set up an account with 3Play Media(link is external) via the Yale landing page. Once your account is created, you can upload videos and select the Audio Description option under services.

Once audio descriptions have been created, you will be able to edit the transcript they provide in 3Play’s editor.

Most video players do not support audio description files. However, if you are hosting a video on a Yale website, you can download 3Play’s audio description player plug-in. In 3Play’s editor interface, select “Publish” rather than download. You will find several options for the plug-in. Please contact us if you have questions about what choices to make.

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