Improving accessibility in audiovisual materials
Index of sections
Tips to improve accessibility in videos
Learn and understand the needs of people with disabilities
Make on screen text easy to read
Use colors carefully
Add captioning or subtitles
There is not an official European standard for subtitling. However, there are several guidelines belonging to different countries such as the Spanish UNE 153010:2012 Subtitling for deaf and hard of hearing people. This standard offers the following recommendations for proper subtitling:
- Captioning must be placed at the lower centre of the screen.
- It should not be longer than two lines.
- There should be good contrast between font and background color.
- Each line must have between 37 and 42 characters.
- Captions must appear and disappear from the screen in synch with the dialogue.
- Dialogues between two or more people in a dialogue must be separated by Return key.
- Italics should be used for voices or dialogue offscreen, movies or books titles, lyrics, and words in a foreign language, among others.
Audio description of visual information
While its purpose is to help people with vision impairments, it can also be beneficial for other individuals, such as people with cognitive disabilities.
There are no EU wide official audio description guidelines. However, there are several national standards, such as the Spanish UNE 153020:2005 Audio description for visually impaired people. Guidelines for audio description procedures and the preparation of audio guides. It offers several recommendations on how to properly audio describe the visual scenes without a dialogue, some of which are the following:
- Use a vocabulary that is suitable for the target audience. Videos for grownups differ greatly from movies for children.
- Add description in the message gaps when specific actions happen in the video such as when a character flips a coin.
- Consider the purpose of the video and its context.
- Use a fluent style and simple language.
- Use relevant terminology.
- Use specific adjectives for specific actions.
- Clarify when, where, who, what and how.
- Respect the image without censoring or cutting elements.
- Avoid spoilers. Never describe what comes next.
Include sign language interpretation
Below are some recommendations to shoot a video with sign language interpretation
- The interpreter must wear clothing in solid shades that contrast with their skin, and background color. They must not wear flashing elements or jewelry.
- The video must be recorded at a minimum of 25 frames per second.
- The interpreter’s window must have a minimum. resolution of 256 x 192 pixels although it is recommended to use a resolution of 352 x 288 pixels.
- The windows should be placed on the lower right side of the video.
- Identification of individuals appearing on the video (characters or other people).
- Sounds (music, applauses, laugh, special effects, etc).
- Description of actions, people, corporal expressions, settings and locations.
- Written texts that appear in the video.
- Any other relevant visual information.