How to make your videos more accessibleAug 16, 2022
How to make your video more accessible
Are you neglecting part of your audience without even realising it? If you’re about to produce a video then this post will help you include some easily overlooked tactics that can make your video more accessible. Voila, your audience just got bigger in all the right ways.
Do you know what the world is full of? Great video content. So much so in fact, that video now makes up more than 80% of online traffic. Yep, that’s eight zero.
From Instagram reels, to TikTok clips, YouTube series and Netflix produced feature films, there’s no denying that video content is everywhere.
But do you know what limits all that amazing video content? Accessibility. Which is seriously frustrating for anyone who feels excluded or like they’re missing out. You can help them avoid experiencing that FOMO simply by being focused on producing inclusive content. Did you know that about 21% of Australians speak a language other than English at home? Or that around 1 in 6 - which is about 4.4 million - have a disability?
They’re big figures and if you’re thinking about creating a video for your brand or business, you need to clue into a few key tactics to make sure your video is as accessible as possible.
This is the very topic Mike Hill and I discussed on Moonshine Moonshot this week and I thought I would reflect on it a little further in this blog post. Because everyone should be able to consume important information
I also believe that video is one of the best ways to achieve it– and all it takes is a few simple tweaks or inclusions.
Let’s take a closer look together.
What does an “accessible” video actually look like?
Enabling people to better interact with your content will broaden your video’s reach.
It will help someone with a different cognitive ability to your own, someone who doesn’t speak your language, or someone who might not have any specific understanding of your video’s topic consume it with grater ease.
But what does an “accessible” video actually look like? Here are few tactics we like to employ at Moonshine Agency.
Add closed captions
Adding closed captions can be excellent for people who are hearing impaired. Captioning is the process of displaying sounds or words as text on a video – you know when you accidentally flick a button on your TV remote and suddenly your favourite show has English subtitles? They’re captions.
Captions usually include a transcription of everything the video captures – like dialogue, sound effects, music and lyrics. You can either “burn them in” into your video file (meaning they’re a permanent feature) or you can give your audience the option of turning them on and off as they please.
Captions are pretty affordable and you don’t need to figure out the tech on your own – a captioning and subtitling platform like Rev can manage the creation for you in as little as 24 hours.
Include foreign language subtitles or dubbing
Subtitling and dubbing is an excellent tactic if your video is made for people from various cultural backgrounds or nationalities. My team at Moonshine Agency and I have created several language iterations for our impact film campaign Conquering Cancer, which looks at the global effort to eliminate cervical cancer.
We’ve produced more than 15 short films in English that we had subtitled in Arabic, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, German and Japanese. What’s more, we also created two short films entirely spoken in French that have been subtitled into English.
And then there’s the feature film, which is primarily in English and has now been subtitled into Spanish, Portuguese and Swahili. Oh! And we also created a dubbed version entirely in French. I must admit as the presenter of Conquering Cancer, watching the on-screen version of myself speak perfect French left me feeling pretty chuffed. If only my Year 8 French teacher could see me now ….
Try voice-over or narration to emphasise key facts or statistics
Adding text graphics to your video can be a fun way to inject a little more creativity into your video – but we’re not all big readers. Some of us don’t like to read at all which is why we turn to video in the first place. By employing a voice-over artist to narrate the content, you can create a similarly engaging effect without making your viewers’ brains work on overdrive (sometimes it’s just nice to sit back and listen, right?).
And guess what, a voice-over artist is not as expensive as you might think. Check out platforms like Fiverr to find a huge range of artists with varying prices.
That being said, if your video is tailored for people with a hearing impairment, text graphics might be the more inclusive or accessible way to go. It really all comes back to figuring out exactly who your audience is and ensuring your content speaks directly to them.
If you’re a bit fuzzy on who your audience exactly is, check out my Define Your Ideal Audience online course. I’ll walk you through my proven system so you can find exactly who you’re talking to before you even pick up a camera.
Think about who’s telling the story
Now I have a chance to talk about one of my favourite elements of a winning video – your messenger. You can learn a little bit more about who the messenger is over here, but in essence, it’s the person who will share your video’s message. They’re at the heart of your video story and are who your audience need to connect with.
And casting the right messenger can really amp up your video’s accessibility.
For example, let’s say your video is targeting academics. In that instance, a fellow academic or subject expert would make a perfect messenger. But if your video is tailored to 17-year-old high school boys? An expert who struggles to move beyond sophisticated, complex language might not be the best choice.
That doesn’t mean that I think you should “dumb down” your content by any means. It’s more about understanding who your video is made for and using a messenger they can relate to. Relatability extends to the whole person – their gender identity, turn of phrase, cultural background, even what they wear on screen!
Think of it like this – if you’re looking to connect with mums who spend a lot of time at the playground wearing activewear casting a 60-year-old man in a designer suit is probably not the best choice to cast in your video. If those mums are your video’s target audience, it will be way more accessible to them if your messenger is someone they can feel a connection or camaraderie with. I’d consider casting another mum for example
Do you have a better understanding of what video accessibility means now?
I hope so. But bear in mind that there are a lot of accessibility tools that I haven’t touched on in this piece, so please get in touch with me via [email protected] if you need some further guidance.
Here’s a snappy overview of the tactics I zoned in on for this post:
• Add closed captions for viewers who are hearing impaired or prefer to watch with the sound off
- Consider including foreign language subtitles or dubbing your content into another language to reach a wider group of people
- Try voice-over narration to talk through complex facts or stats that you show in your video using on-screen graphics
- Think carefully about who your messenger is and make sure your audience can relate to them
In the spirit of accessibility, it’s worth mentioning that you can check out the YouTube episode of Moonshine Moonshot on this very topic too over here, or listen to the audio podcast recording here (or wherever you listen to your favourite pods).
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