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Caption This!

Closed captioning is the process of adding written text to movies, TV shows, commercials…any type of video or audio media to make it accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

But, closed captioning not only benefits those who are hearing impaired but also provides context for those with certain cognitive impairments and those who do not speak the language of the video or audio.

In this post, I will share with you some best practices for incorporating closed captions into your media files. This list is certainly not exhaustive, but I have included items I consider low-hanging fruit to help you get started quickly.

  1. Timing & Accuracy
    Captions should accurately reflect the spoken content of the video or audio and be synchronized with the spoken content as well as sound effects and music.
  2. Video player
    Make sure the video player you use presents the content in a way that is accessible to the greatest number of people. See this checklist for accessible media players.
  3. Clarity
    Captions should be easy to read and understand. They should be free of spelling and grammar errors, use proper punctuation, and follow standard grammar rules.
  4. Consistency
    Captions should follow a consistent format and style throughout the video or audio file. This makes it easier for viewers to follow along and stay engaged. Some of those format and style elements are:
    • font choice
      Choose an accessible font and use only that font throughout the media file.
    • background
      Ensure there is proper contrast between the background color and font color.
    • placement
      Captions should be placed in a way that does not block important visual content that would interfere with the viewer's experience.

Before publishing, make sure you edit your captions for accuracy and clarity, including spelling / grammatical errors or omissions. Ensure that the captions are consistent and follow the best practices above.

By following these best practices, you can ensure that your captions are accurate, clear, and accessible to a wider audience.


Maggie Vaughan, CPACC
Content Marketing Practitioner