Captions are text representations of the audio content of multimedia and video, including narration, dialogue, sound effects, and other information that are displayed in sync with the audio track. Providing captions is a means of providing access to multimedia and video content to individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. Captions can also be beneficial to individuals learning English as a second language, and for all users in increasing comprehension and retention of material.
The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act was passed by Congress to update telecommunications protections for people with disabilities, specifically to ensure that accessibility laws keep pace with broadband technologies. FCC.gov
Captions can be integrated into multimedia as a user-selectable option (closed) or permanently recorded along with the main audio or video (open). Closed captions may be toggled on and off by the user in a preferences or settings menu or with a button on the player interface. Open captions are always on and cannot be turned off.
- Plan the inclusion of captions during the scripting and production of the video or multimedia.
- Follow accepted captioning guidelines, see DCMP Captioning Key
- Use a supported markup format such as SMIL or SAMI to integrate captions into multimedia presentations and videos posted on websites.