Multimedia refers to the integration of text with video, audio or image files in electronic content. To ensure accessibility of multimedia content on the web, learning management systems, electronic communications, etc., alternate forms to represent the information should be provided.

On this webpage

Accessible video & audio

To be accessible to most users, video should include captions, a transcript and audio description in an accessible media player. According to a 2016 study done by Oregon State University, students will use captions and transcripts to enhance their learning and aid in comprehension. The majority of students who participated in the study were not registered to require academic accommodations.

For audio files to be accessible, they should always be accompanied by a transcript. Before creating captions, please check the DCMP Closed Captioning Standards to learn about creating fully accessible, understandable and usable captions.

Access Technology Services at the UW campus, promotes captioning as a teaching best practice that benefits all students, including English Language Learners, students who wish to see the spelling of technical terms, and students who need to search for specific content in a set of videos.

Do you have questions? Would like to schedule a training session? Please contact Ana Thompson, Learning & Access Designer.

Captions & transcripts

Captions are composed of time-synchronized text of the audio content of a video while transcripts are text documents that contain all the spoken content of a video or audio file. The commonly seen captions on web video that can be turned on or off are called closed captions. Open captions, the kind that are “burned in” the video are not accessible and should be avoided. Aside from helping hard of hearing students, captions and transcripts can also assist ESL learners better understand video content. Another benefit is that it can help all students better understand technical terms in video or audio content.

At University of Washington there are to main approaches to caption your videos:

  • Do it yourself
  • Submit it to a third party vendor

Do it yourself captioning

Whether you type and time a transcript to convert it to caption file, edit auto-created captions or type captions directly, the way you caption depends on where the video is hosted.

YouTube, Vimeo, Zoom, Facebook

  • Add captions to recorded video



If you do not already have a caption file in SRT, VTT, etc. format, you can use a caption file creation tool such as Amara is a user-friendly, free tool that can help you not only type captions and produce a caption file for videos you own.

To learn more about accessible video, access the Creating Accessible Video UW resource.

UW-IT captioning service

Accessible Technology Services (ATS) will caption a limited number of UW video presentations without charge through a service supported by UW-IT. Individuals, departments, and other units at the UW are encouraged to apply for funding to caption highly-visible, high-impact, multiple use, and/or strategic videos. Examples include:

  • Videos available to the public on a high-use website
  • Videos that will be used multiple times in a course
  • Videos developed by several faculty members to be used in several different classes

If you are interested in applying for this service, please complete the UW Captioning Service Application.

Submit to 3rd party: 3Play Media

The state of Washington has K-20 education contract for a reduced fee of $0.93/minute for video captioning. Setting up an account with 3Play Media and other information is located on the the Washington HEC Contract webpage.

Submit to 3rd party: Other captioning companies

Other companies such as Automatic Sync Technologies, cielo24, and many other captioning service providers can caption videos for a fee. Contact these companies directly for additional information.

Note on accommodations

Captioning videos is required when students who are deaf or hard of hearing enroll in your course; captioning in this case is as well as other accommodations are provided by Disability Resources for Students (DRS). For more information, contact Rosa Liu, Academic Services-Assistant Director, at or 425.352.5114.