In our latest newsletter video in December 2019, we talked about the importance of accessibility in video content. After all, only 40% feel comfortable using the Internet. That’s a huge percentage of the population and one that’s worth catering to.

That’s why we’re so excited about some new changes in video hosting to allow videos to be an accessible environment to all viewers (and listeners!).

Wistia, the video-hosting platform that we often use for client video reviews, recently announced their new features for accessibility. Some features are still in beta, but represent a good indicator of more things to come to giving everyone equal opportunity to enjoy video content.

Here is a list of the new features Wistia is reporting they will have:

High Contrast Color Picker

Considerate colour design choices was a huge factor that we’re glad Wistia is incorporating. This makes it so that viewers with low contrast sensitivity can better discern the progress bar from the video itself.

Increased opacity

Transparent progress bars made scrubbing through the video more difficult to all viewers. Now, with an opaque progress bar, times are clearer to see and work with.

Closed Captions

Closed Captions are now, for the first time, able to be included in Wistia-hosted videos by uploading a .srt file. While not a new feature for other platforms, like YouTube, this is a fantastic new direction for Wistia. Closed captions are not just for accessibility. Because it adds additional text content to your video, it becomes easier to detect for keywords for search engines, giving your video a nice little boost in its SEO.

Audio Descriptions

This is where our team at Arc and Crown Media is most excited. We talked about audio descriptions and how this gives great additional context to those unable to see your video fully to understand what’s happening visually. Wistia is incorporating a new toggle so that audio descriptions can be chosen. An amazing aspect of this feature is that this can allow a single video file to be created – whereas in other instances the content creator would need to host two different versions of the video – one with audio descriptions and one without. This is where we really see Wistia valuing both sides of the video experience – for those viewing the content, and for those creating the content – to altogether create a better, more streamlined process.

Wistia is one of the early adopters of this feature, and we cannot wait to see how this will impact other video platforms as well to incorporate something similar.

Improved Mobile Experience

Accessibility is not solely about disability. Many video viewers are also limited by the device they use to consume content. Wistia is also improving their infrastructure to provide a better mobile experience as well.

An elegant checklist

Finally, a simple and easy to use checklist ensures content creators are doing their due diligence to ensuring their content is accessible. This is actually a great first step to promoting greater awareness about accessibility overall and represents good things in the future.

As users of Wistia ourselves, and as avid fans of accessible content for everyone, we are looking forward to using Wistia’s new features, and the waves they will hopefully make for other major platforms as well. Video has continued to be the premiere medium that consumers choose online – for entertainment, tutorials, learning, or purchasing decisions. With such a powerful tool, why limit its reach by forgoing accessibility. That’s where Wistia is starting to really d a fine job. YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms – take note.

Let's talk about how video can improve your communications