Use Video and Audio Where Appropriate, but Also Provide Alternative Content

Do you want to have audio or video on your site? Great! But don't forget to provide a text alternative.

Make no mistake, we want you to use video on your site. (And we want to host it on our YouTube channel, where the usual ten-minute time limit does not apply.)

But a number of key audiences—search engines, the visually impaired, the hearing impaired, users on cell phones, and users with limited bandwidth—may not be able to use your video unless you supply a textual alternative.

In other words, if you put everything about your program into a video, but don't also put that information on your website as regular text, you make yourself invisible to search engines and unusable for a growing segment of our website audience.

Ideally your textual alternative would be a transcript and would include all the information in the video or audio. This is a great project for a work-study student. Advances in speech recognition are making transcript production easier every year. But transcripts do take time.

More practically: provide a summary for every video you put on your site. And make sure that any important information you provide in the video also exists somewhere else on your site.