How to ensure your video content is standards-compliant to reach the biggest audience possible

In today’s media-rich world, the use of video by companies to promote themselves is more popular than ever; however, video producers need to remain mindful to ensure their content meets certain standards so that it remains accessible by the largest audience possible.

Perhaps more importantly, with the recent proliferation of video online, it’s becoming harder for companies to make stand-out content that really grabs users’ attention and ranks high in search engines. By making your content standards compliant, you’ll have a far better chance of rating in search engines while also making a better impression of inclusivity across your user community.

Adhering to guidelines helps with inclusivity

For example, even YouTube (by far the world’s biggest and most popular streaming video provider) prefers to see content options that are properly formatted for all users – including those with hearing or sight disabilities. Moreover, YouTube’s sister company Google (both services are owned and operated by parent firm Alphabet), will also prioritize your web content if it’s seen to be standards-compliant.

While Google Search is more interested in the actual website content (such as text, images, navigation structure, etc.), it can also scan pages for media and places those websites with good accessibility standards higher in its Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

By adhering to the recently agreed Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), you’ll widen your audience and make a better impression of inclusivity on your users. Moreover, the practice of including a transcribed text version of your video content in the description field and on your website will also let the platform better understand the point of your content and its core messages.

The current WCAG requirements

The WCAG set two standards that content producers need to fulfill if their videos are to be considered standards-compliant, WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA:

WCAG 2.0 Level A: For a video to be counted as Level A-compliant, content producers need to ensure they include captions and audio descriptions in the material they post online (unless the content is marked as an alternative for existing text).

WCAG 2.0 Level AA: Similar to Level A, captions and audio descriptions need to be included with all pre-recorded and live broadcast videos.

Requirements for audio descriptions in the video

Audio descriptions are simple to include in a video if you use a skilled audio description services company to do the work for you. Audio descriptions make video content accessible for those with sight problems (ranging from the fully blind to sufferers of low vision). Audio descriptions are typically supplied by dedicated audio professionals skilled in knowing exactly what needs to be included in the production. Moreover, a certified company will also ensure you ship your video in an accessible player, suitable for the greatest percentage of sight-impaired users.

A basic guide to captioning video

While there are no specific recommendations within the WCAG guidelines, you should ensure your video meets or exceeds certain basic criteria when captioning:

Adaptability: Content should be produced so it can adapt to changes in the guidelines and appeal to the widest possible range of people.

Operating interface: Videos should be delivered in an interface that can be operated by the maximum number of people with the greatest range of possible disabilities.

Easy to understand: Content producers must ensure their videos are as easy to understand as possible – again by the greatest number of users.

The rules in the WCAG guidelines are rather vague regarding captioning, but your content should be considered largely compliant if you follow the above general recommendations. However, if you want to be 100% sure about your content, you should employ the services of a professional transcribing company to ensure compliance.

Content marketing and inbound marketing expert, Steve Conway is passionate about discovering new tech which will enhance his already well-honed digital marketing skills. 

How to ensure your video content is standards-compliant to reach the biggest audience possible

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