The Importance of Captioning
There are various laws and guidelines that require video captions for educational videos, training videos, government videos, and more. You may find yourself forgetting about the importance of captioning and just thinking about it as a technical requirement that needs to be checked off a list to prevent litigation.
To combat this tendency, this post will focus on the human importance of captioning videos.
Access for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals
Captions provide access to media for people who can’t hear the audio. If you know WCAG 2.0, you’ll recognize captioning as guideline 1.2.2. Meeting 1.2.2 means providing accurate captions that are synchronized with the audio.
Without captions, videos on the web are inaccessible to people who are deaf and hard of hearing. Imagine going on to YouTube to watch some videos and everything is in a foreign language. No subtitles, no nothing. You have no idea what is going on and it’s really frustrating.
That’s how it is for every deaf person who wants to enjoy a video, just like all their hearing friends do. Without video captions, they are unable to follow along.
From entertainment to education to job preparation, video is everywhere. Not providing accurate captions with videos cuts off access to over 28 million Americans.
This is why captioning is required by so many federal laws such as the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the CVAA. And while captioning prevents disability discrimination, it also does so much more.
To best understand the importance of captioning, take a look at this very clever and effective video.
Additional Benefits Support the Importance of Captioning
As the end of the video illustrates, the importance of captioning doesn’t end with providing access. Captions improve literacy, reading comprehension, access for non-native English speakers, search, and more.