Captions are showing up all over social media but does that mean access?

Silent scrollers of the world, we thank you. Unknowingly, you’ve led a quiet revolution to change the way we watch video — and you’ve flung open a big barn door of accessibility on social media for people who are Deaf and hard of hearing.

According to a Verizon Media and Publicis Media survey, 92% of U.S. consumers view video without sound on mobile devices. That’s scary for advertisers who run video ads — and just as scary for content producers who create video. So how to save all that video content from the silent treatment? Captions.

All that incessant, silent scrolling has led to reams of captions popping up on videos across social media, not to mention pretty much everywhere video is available. That’s great, but are social media platforms and content producers considering accessibility? No, not really.

Image Credit: Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

While advertisers have begun to introduce captions to their content in an attempt to spike more user engagement, it is certainly not with the intention of helping Deaf and hard-of-hearing folks. The Deaf community is not top priority when it comes to content producers trying to compete for users’ attention, but by default, they benefit greatly by getting the spoils of the war for eyeballs.

Up until recently, the Deaf community has been excluded from experiencing video content in full due to the lack of available captions — an unfair consequence outside of their control. The addition of captions across social media platforms is a huge inclusionary step that helps create a more or less parallel experience for those that are Deaf and hard of hearing, making it possible for them to access content in the same way that everyone else does.

Why Captions Are Important

Next time you post videos to social media, make sure you add captions, and here’s why…..accessibility!

Deaf and hard-of-hearing people aren’t the only ones who can benefit from captioned videos. Many people fail to realize that captions offer significant advantages for a multitude of other reasons.

Captions provide extra assistance for individuals who are non-native English speakers. They also help viewers who have learning disabilities or attention deficits to focus better and maintain concentration. In fact, research proves that captions actually help all viewers parse complex topics, and remember more. And, lucky for advertisers, captions improve average watch time, encouraging viewers to watch a video until the end. Not to mention — they also make videos more searchable.

If accessibility is overlooked, you can bet legal trouble can’t be far behind.

In addition, videos that include captions are welcomed by folks that enjoy watching with lower volume levels and ensure that everyone can still watch in sound-sensitive environments where audio is not always suitable. Beyond improving accessibility rights, the law requires businesses to meet certain accessibility standards. There has even been a rise in the number of ADA lawsuits for organizations that have failed to provide video captioning to accommodate the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community. If accessibility is overlooked, you can bet legal trouble can’t be far behind.

Captions for Clarity

Unfortunately, it is very common for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people to be severely limited in watching online videos because of missing or inaccurate captions. High-quality captions are often hard to come by for live videos, since they are auto-generated and therefore are notorious for resulting in bad transcriptions. The #NoMoreCraptions movement highlighted how bad these transcriptions could be.

 

According to NAD, hearing loss affects more than 5% of the world’s population — leaving almost 360 million individuals at a huge disadvantage. When captions lack clarity, it makes it harder for deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers to access mainstream content.

However, with the warp speed of digital technology, new advances are changing that reality and captions are becoming more commonplace. Having accurate real-time captions allows deaf audiences to fully experience a video without ever having to actually hear the audio. Without captions, the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community can’t always understand nuances such as sarcasm, other emotions, or things like who may or may not be talking when they are absent from the screen.

How Can You Implement Captions?

While caption technology has made advances, it’s not always used to its fullest potential. In an ideal world, it would be great if captions could be well-controlled. What if you could adjust the size of captions for better readability? Or what if you could view them anywhere on your screen? Or better yet, what if they were always available to you, regardless of which device you were using?

Captions can be limiting, low-quality, inaccurate, or even non-existent. So what can you do if there are no captions available? You can rely on Ava. At Ava, we believe total accessibility is possible. In an effort to make content available for everyone, Ava has introduced Mobile Live Captions, to improve accessibility and create an equitable experience for all. If you are looking for a great way to caption your content, Ava Mobile Live Captions can help.

Ava Mobile Live Captions

Ava Mobile Live Captions enables you to caption your content on social media directly from your iPhone and iPad — whether you are using Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Clubhouse, or YouTube to be made more accessible for all audiences. Ava empowers some of the 450M Deaf and hard-of-hearing people with instant and accurate captions, all in one click.

Here’s what makes Ava Mobile Live Captions unique:

It works for all social media platforms

Audio is captured with speed, accuracy, and precision by harnessing the 
 power of artificial and human intelligence

It is one-click accessible

It can be used in-person or online

We offer a desktop web and mobile app version (compatible with both Mac 
 and Windows)

And….

We now offer floating captions. Floating captions allow you to view your live captions in a miniature boxed screen on your iPad or iPhone while multitasking and opening or using other apps, so you don’t miss a beat.

Captions for Everyone

Whether you’re on a PC or Mac, Ava Free or Ava Pro, or anywhere in between, Ava Mobile Live Captions are available for all. You can download Ava Closed Captions or our mobile Ava App. Accessibility is a universal right. By accurately captioning content, you have the opportunity to serve all audiences — Deaf, hard-of-hearing, or not. Adding them to your video content is a small step towards inclusion, but provides a dramatic impact for a significant part of the population. With technology rapidly changing, and the popularity of video use steadily increasing, captions are more critical and pertinent than ever before.

For more information about Ava’s accessibility solutions, click here.

Jordana Schulman
Post by Jordana Schulman
May 18, 2022

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