Multimedia Accessibility

Accessible media is essential for many people. When you create a video, consider that some viewers may be unable to see what is shown in the frame while others may be unable to hear the audio. Still others may have difficulty attending to the primary information being presented. Depending on the content of the media, making the presentation accessible can mean adding captions, audio description, or providing a transcript.

Accessible Media Checklist

  • Videos: The video or animation contains synchronized captioning and audio description (when needed).
  • Sound-only: The sound file has a matching audio transcript.
  • Animation: Unless purely decorative, the animation has a text equivalent (alternative text).

Captioning Requirements

Campus-Only and No Accommodation Request

If the video will only be available to members of campus and no request for captioning has been received, automated captions may be used for the video.

Important: Illinois MediaSpace, which uses Kaltura, is the best campus tool for generating useable automatic captions for pre-recorded video. Zoom may be used to generate relatively accurate automated captions for presentations that are being recorded. YouTube may be used to generate automated captions for pre-recorded video; however, the captions generated must be edited to add proper punctuation and capitalization of sentences. This may be true of other methods used to generate captions automatically, so check the generated captions to see if they are reasonably accurate and include capitalization and punctuation.

Publicly Available or Accommodation Request Received

The captions for the video must meet ADA requirements for accuracy and quality. This can be done via Accessible Media Services, at DRES, the Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning(CITL), or you can do it yourself using the captioning tools in Illinois MediaSpace.

If the video will be created from a live presentation, a third-party CART captioning service will likely be needed. Always use a CART captioner if:

  • You are aware that a participant has a hearing impairment, even if no accommodation request has been received;
  • The live event is open to general audiences on campus or to the public;
  • The event attendance is expected to be large, more than 50 participants, and it is likely that someone with a hearing impairment would be interested in attending.

Important: If any of the above are true for a live event, it is not sufficient to use automatic captions during the live presentation and later offer a video with corrected captions.

CART for employee-oriented, general campus, and public events may be reserved through the Office for Access and Equity. CART may be reserved for student-oriented events and classroom presentations through DRES. Reserving a CART captioning service generally must occur more than two weeks before the event will take place.

How To Caption

See the section on captions for more information about captions and how to caption video.

Audio Description

Audio description is a verbal depiction of important visual information in a video presentation. Audio description is required by federal and state law; however, there are techniques that may be used when creating the presentation that can reduce or eliminate the need for utilizing a campus service to audio describe a video.

Contact Accessible Media Services if you have received an accommodation request for audio description or if you know that someone with visual impairments will be part of the intended audience for the video.


Transcripts are non-synchronized text alternatives. Transcripts are best utilized for audio-only presentations. They are not an alternative for captions. Contact Accessible Media Services if you have received an accommodation request for transcripts or have questions about how to transcribe audio.

More Information

For questions or additional information about accessible multimedia requirements, contact Accessible Media Services or the ADA IT Coordinator.