The one thing your training videos are missing. If you’ve spent any time in the corporate world, you’ll be all too familiar with training videos. And there was a time when they were even worse, as those who can remember one hour videos on TVs the size of communal bins with flickery images will know. It must have been akin to getting on a flight to Malaga and being forced to watch the safety demo for the entire trip.
But airline safety videos might teach us something. Firstly because like corporate training videos they have come a long way technologically, and secondly, as you may or may not have noticed, all have one secret ingredient: captions.
Sorry if that disappointed you. But captions, like many things, are so much more than they initially appear. First of all, they are not to be confused with subtitles (the words that help you understand foreign language films). By captions we mean text at the bottom of the screen containing both dialogue and any audio descriptions. Captions can be both “open”, i.e. on all the time, or “closed”, switched on and off by the user. But why is the humble caption so essential?
They make your content accessible
In today’s digital world, accessibility means ensuring online content (whether it’s online courses, articles, podcasts or of course training videos), is able to be used by everyone, and without compromising their experience. While this might sound like a small audience to target, in the UK an estimated 14.6 million have some form of disability.
They meet legal requirements
It’s also the law – for some organisations including public sector bodies to meet Level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Even private sector websites are obliged to comply with the Equality Act 2010 and ensure their services do not discriminate against those with disabilities.
However, whether compulsory or not, captions have a strong business case.
They improve flexibility
Captions enhance working flexibility. Why? Essentially in 2022, you can work from almost anywhere. This inevitably means the quiet sedate office that would have been most people’s workplace has been swapped out for somewhere slightly noisier. It may be you can hear some but not all of the video because of background sound at home. Or maybe your home has a sleeping baby that you don’t want to disturb!
They make videos easier to learn from
We all learn in different ways – some of us are more visual than aural learners, others vice versa. However adding captions to your videos accommodates everyone, no matter how they absorb information. For many people, reading and listening to the same information actually helps retain details better. Using captions also helps circumvent issues such as poor or quiet audio.