Video Captioning: Part 2 of 2
Colleen Burns 120000C4RP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  social_business social holly_nielsen seo accessibility
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In part 1 of this two-part series, we reviewed some of the statistics supporting the skyrocketing usage of video, for both personal and business use. Now let’s get to the heart of why you’re missing out if you’re not captioning your videos.
Captioning videos for accessibility
Have you ever tried to watch a video without speakers, or with your sound off? Annoying, isn’t it? You might be able to catch a little of what’s going on, but you know that you’re missing most of the action.
People who are deaf, hard of hearing, non-native language speakers, using mobile devices, or in a noisy area run into this problem constantly. It’s estimated that the majority of videos on the Internet are not captioned, and therefore inaccessible to these audiences.
Captioning is the process of converting the audio content of a television broadcast, webcast, film, video, CD-ROM, DVD, live event, or other productions into text and displaying the text on a screen, monitor, or other visual display system.
There are two elements to making videos accessible.
Videos that include both captions and a text alternative can reduce or eliminate barriers to rich media access for many potential users.
The sweet spot: Where videos, accessibility, and SEO meet
Where does SEO fit into this picture? Right here. After all, if your customers can’t find your videos; they can’t view them. And if search engines can’t find your videos; they can’t rank them. But after you’ve captioned a video and included a transcript, you’ve now created exactly what the search engines require for indexing – making that video searchable – impossible to do with an uncaptioned file. Both users and search engines can search for and find keywords from your video; enabling video SEO.
SEO has been around as long as there have been search engines, web sites for the engines to search, and site owners wanting to increase traffic to those sites. It’s constantly changing as search engines evolve and become more sophisticated. Video SEO is a relatively new, but growing field, and will continue to gain in use and importance as Internet users continue to watch videos and new video captioning legislation is signed into law and enforced, such as the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 in the United States.
As a competitive advantage, captioning your videos is a winning strategy – both for promoting your messages, products, and services to a much broader audience by enabling more of your customers to find your content, and by making the content accessible to all of your customers, regardless of disability, device, or native language.
Holly Nielsen is the Social Media Manager and webmaster for the Human Ability and Accessibility Center, IBM Research. Located in sunny Northern California, Holly manages the IBM Accessibility social media program and the www.ibm.com/able website. She is passionate about accessibility and social networking, and frequently blogs about social networking trends and assorted topics that spark her interest. You can follow her on Twitter, @hollynielsen.
Holly is an IBM Redbooks Thought Leader