Alternatives to audio
Video and multimedia
Captions and transcripts benefit everyone. Transcripts mean easier production of subtitles in a number of languages. They also improve the indexing of online content.
Improved indexing means improved search engine optimisation and discoverability of government online content.
Why it's important
- Sudo is hearing-impaired and cannot rely on audio.
- Mia is a non-native English speaker and has difficulty understanding video.
- Lyla-Mae is watching a video but cannot listen to the audio due to being in a teleconference.
Transcript and caption guide
For audio-only content, such as a podcast or radio interview, provide a transcript, narrative or screenplay.
Include any visuals important for understanding the content. For example, [the Minister enters the room].
Audio and visual content
For audio and visual content, such as training videos, provide a transcript and captions.
- In the transcripts and captions, include the spoken information and any sounds important for understanding the content. For example, [the Minister's phone starts ringing].
- In transcripts, include any visuals important for understanding the content. For example, [the Minister enters the room].
For pre-recorded video the Australian Government recommends the inclusion of Auslan.
Steps to take
- Start with the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) video captions page. This is a great guide to best practice layout for embedded video, captions and transcripts. W3C use Able Player for their embedded videos, YouTube and Vimeo are also good options. Speak with your developer if you need help.
- Read the Australian Government Style Manual on video and audio.
- Make sure video captions synchronise to appear around the same time that they would be heard in the audio. Accurate captions must be provided, so don’t rely 100 per cent on auto-captioning or auto-transcript options. A good starting point is a production script or transcription services.
- To make video or audio transcripts available, link to it from the same place you link to or display your video or audio file.
- Avoid brightly flashing or rapidly flashing colours in your videos. When flashes are faster than three times a second, they can trigger seizures for people living with visual epilepsy. Flashing colours can also cause headaches.
- Ensure that text within the video stands out from the background with good colour contrast.
- Learn more about why captions are so important for everyone. Watch the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) video about captions (1 min).
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
Sign language (Auslan)
Auslan (Australian sign language) is a visual form of communication for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. It uses hand, arm and body movements to convey meaning.
Why it's important
- Aarav's partner is in hospital having a baby. An Auslan interpreter is able to communicate on the progress and health of Asrav's partner and baby.
- People from across Australia are visiting a large event. Video messages at the event are also provided in Auslan. This ensures that people who are deaf or hard of hearing have access to the same information as the hearing community.
Around 20,000 people use Auslan to communicate every day. It is used in many settings including:
- government agencies providing service information and training via presentations
- virtual launches and video conferences
- kindergarten programs
- schools and universities
- community events
- sporting activities
- medical appointments
- arts events
- within the police and court system
- emergency management communication.
Auslan interpreters provide a wide range of services. For example: attending your community event, appearing on video or face to face interpreting.
Providers across Australia include:
A great starting point is to look up the organisation for deafness advocacy in your state. For example:
- Australia – Deaf Connect
- Queensland (QA) – Deaf Services
- Tasmania (Tas) – Tasdeaf
- Victoria (Vic) – Vicdeaf
- Western Australia (WA) – Access Plus
- New South Wales (NSW) – The Deaf Society.
Many community, technical and further education (TAFE) institutions and organisations also offer Auslan classes.