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Benefits of Captioning

infotech.NEWS: April 2016

A fun, upbeat video highlights the many reasons to caption videos including not only accessibility but also increased comprehension, availability of audio content in common environments, and increased search engine optimization.

Video Highlights the Benefits of Captioning

"You Guys Need Captions!," a Pharrell "Happy" parody, reminds us of the many benefits of captioning.

As the video reiterates the addition of captions "boost your content so many ways." They enhance a multimedia presentation, improving its overall value and usefulness. They benefit accessibility, comprehension, particular environments/situations, and search engine optimization.


Logo: AccessibilityCaptions make audio and audiovisual material accessible and provides a lifeline to education, communication, information, news, sports, and entertainment for more than 36 million Americans who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Captions help those with cognitive disabilities. But, like most technology originally developed for accessibility - the touch screens on our phones and tablets, audio books, and the telephone - captioning benefits each of us.


Illusrtration: Gears turning in a person's headCaptioning helps people understand more. Research shows that captioned media increases literacy skills in people of all ages. Simply having captions on dramatically improves vocabulary, word recognition, understanding, and reading. Some learners remember what they hear and read more effectively than what they solely hear.

If English is not a viewer's first language, they are more likely to follow if accurate captions are on screen. For individuals with limited English proficiency and for English-language learners, captions improve comprehension and fluency.

Common Environments and Situations

Illusrtration: audio speakerFor anyone in noisy environments, when the audio quality is poor, or where noise isn't allowed, captions are useful. Think of the last time you saw a captioned newscast in a busy location, or a captioned sportscast in your favorite bar or restaurant. For anyone in a quiet environment such as a library or when a spouse is sleeping or when speakers/headset are broken, captions allow access to audio information needed to understand audio content of a video.

Search Engine Optimization

Illusrtration: SEO concept of increased Google rankingCaptioning helps search engine optimization (SEO). Captions add to the video's metadata, making it indexible, thereby improving its chances for a higher ranking by search engines. Google and other search engines can't watch a video. Not captioning means that your videos can only be found based on their titles. What about all the incredible keywords and search terms you have in your video? Without captions Google has no idea about those.

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