Creating accessible video content

Check how to produce video content that is accessible for all users.

First of all

Before you start, read the guidelines on starting a new project or contact our video manager before creating any video content for the web.

Making sure videos meet accessibility standards

All video content for the web must meet current WCAG web accessibility standards. This is so all visitors to our website can access video content.

These regulations apply to pre-recorded, not live, content. Regulations allow up to 14 days after the video has been published for accessible content to be added, but you should add this as soon as you can.

On-screen content

Text on screen and any charts or graphs should have the right colour contrast and be sufficiently sized so that most people can easily comprehend what’s on screen. This will be taken into account by whoever is producing the video.


Video content must have subtitles. This is to provide users who are deaf, or with impaired hearing, access to what is being said in the video.

Subtitles are often auto-generated. These must be checked, corrected and in-sync with the audio before publishing. They must include all dialogue.

Auto-generated subtitles can be downloaded as a .srt file from Vimeo or Panopto and corrected. These are then uploaded back to the video hosting platform, including the timestamps they were generated with.


Every video we display online needs a transcript. A transcript is a pure text translation of a video’s audio, without timestamps.

Transcripts help people who are blind, or are partially-sighted, to understand the video’s content. Users might do this with a screen reader or other accessibility tools.

Some visitors, including non-native English speakers, may prefer to read a transcript rather than watch a video, so we should format transcripts for readability by using paragraphs. No other formatting, such as headings or lists, is needed.

To deliver the best experience, a video transcript should communicate more than just speech; it should clearly identify:

  • who is speaking (if the speaker is not identifiable use “Student 1, Student 2”, etc)
  • essential non-speech sounds using square brackets, for example [LAUGHTER] or [SILENCE].

Use descriptive text, where appropriate. If the speaker refers to a visual, such as a figure or a table, but does not describe the information in that figure or chart (such as, “Figure 1 shows the direction of this trend”) then the transcript must include a description of the figure, in brackets.

When recording lectures, it is best for the presenter to describe a visual when referring to it for a variety of reasons; not everyone will be able to view the visuals (for instance, due to technical difficulties). Some learners will rely solely on audio or transcripts.

In brackets, include descriptions of relevant nuances of speech (such as, “Please stay with me [whispered]”) or non-speech audio (for instance, “[gas being released from a compressed nitrogen tank]”).

Leave out descriptions of background noise that are not relevant to the content.

Turning .srt files into transcripts

You can use the raw subtitle file, in .srt format, as the basis for a transcript.

It’s best for the commissioner of the video to create a transcript, because you will know the content better than anyone else.

To turn .srt files into plain text transcripts:

  1. save the .srt file as a plain text (.txt) file
  2. copy the contents into the left-hand field of this web page to extract text from subtitles and select “Do the job!”
  3. copy the extracted text from the right-hand field and paste it back into your plain text file
  4. reformat to run setences of text as standard paragraphs
  5. add any extra detail (such as text on screen, details of graphics or contextual visuals, such as “Professor holds up light bulb to camera”)
  6. save and send to publishing person, either as plain text or in a Word document.

Hosting video on our website

All video is to be hosted using Vimeo and the video component in our components library. For more information on why we use Vimeo as a video hosting service, read about commissioning video.

Example of video with captions and transcript

Add the video heading here

  • Video transcript

    [Intro MUSIC: Fast paced indie rock]

    [Video footage of University of Sussex campus in the 1960’s and 1970’s inside a 60 graphic cutout]

    Alum 1: I was here in the Sixties.

    Student 2: We came in the Seventies when it was still pretty radical.

    [Camera shutter noise with photos of University of Sussex campus in the 1960’s and 1970’s]

    Student 3: We were very lucky of how we lived university life.

    Student 4: We were the golden generation.

    Student 5: Just a bang up, hell of a good time.

    Student 6: It’s really lovely to be celebrating 60 years.

    Student 7: This is the first time I’ve been here in 40 years.

    Student 8: It’s actually been really lovely.

    Student 9: It is fantastic to be here.

    Student 10: You do feel kind of a nostalgia.

    Student 1: Just bumping into people, I remember or people who remember me is really nice and feel the community connection with Sussex.

    Student 11: We haven’t seen each other in nearly 30 years. It was like no time had ever passed. It’s been really, really good.

    Student 12: It was a very exciting place to live and it’s still a very exciting place to be.

    Student 13: It’s really nice to be back here. There’s a real buzz.

    Student 14: I’m looking forward to getting on the dance floor later on. [Laughs]

    Student 15: Thank you Sussex University.

    [TITLE CARD ’Making memories’]

    Student 16: Between you and me, I don’t know how I survived the Sixties, honestly.

    [END CARD. University of Sussex logo]