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Accessible Multimedia

Captions and transcripts provide a way for all users to access information and content in the way that they need it. These text-based equivalents create an equally effective experience for users in many ways:

  • Provides access for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals
  • Improves comprehension for multilingual views
  • Increases comprehension and retention for students
  • Allows for flexible viewing in sound-sensitive environments
  • Boosts SEO and searchability of videos and audio

When to caption

Captioning is required for:

  • For live events or any videos used during an event/course where an accommodation is requested from a student, staff member, attendee, or other person who requires captioning
  • All public-facing videos on Penn websites, web applications, or social media account. This includes recorded events and sales and marketing videos
  • All public-facing live events, such as commencement

Captioning and live-captioning requirements apply even when you are hosting your videos or events elsewhere, such as YouTube or Zoom.

When to transcribe

Transcripts are used to make audio-only content, such as Podcasts and audio uploaded to SoundCloud, more accessible.

Transcription is required for:

  • For any audio content used in an event/course where an accommodation is requested from a student, staff member, or other person who requires transcription
  • All public-facing audio on Penn websites and web applications

Prioritization guidelines

If you need to remediate your multimedia, follow these guidelines and best practices.

Highest priority

  1. When an accommodation is requested from a student, staff member, attendee, or any other person who requests captioning
  2. When the multimedia is newly created and/or uploaded to a public Penn property
  3. When the multimedia will be shared across channels and/or over an extended period of time
  4. When the multimedia will be reused in new courses, existing courses, or used in a course for more than one semester
  5. When the multimedia is on a public facing web page

Other prioritization considerations

  • When purchasing multimedia or media creation services, it should be delivered in a captioned state. It’s recommended to build this into your budget and media creation workflows.
  • If you do not have the in-house capacity or technical support, you may have to outsource live-captioning, captioning, and transcription services.
  • Caption all archived multimedia upon request, and caption all frequently requested multimedia.
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