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Embedding Video and Video Playlists in Public Website WordPress

Judicious and sparing use of video can be a great way to make your pages more visually interesting. One way of getting video on your page is to use one of BCIT’s YouTube videos. Another is to create your department or school’s own YouTube channel and upload your own videos.

Note: Change to YouTube video settings, summer 2021

YouTube recently switched all videos uploaded before 2017 from unlisted to private. That means that members of the public won’t be able to view the video – not the best experience! Ideally, everyone should be able to view videos published on public pages of the website, unless there’s a specific explanation.

Loop post: YouTube settings have changed for older videos

What is video accessibility and why does it matter?

At its most basic level, meeting accessibility requirements means ensuring that all content is available and consumable to as many users as possible, regardless of differences in ability, age, context, etc. for those users. Video is an area where we need to pay particular attention as regards accessibility. If videos don’t have a text alternative, then they do not meet the minimum standards we need to meet for accessibility and won’t be available and consumable for any users who are, for example, visually impaired. WordPress makes adding a YouTube video to a page incredibly simple, but it’s important not to lose sight of the need for consideration of all users’ needs when doing so.

All videos must have a text alternative

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (which is the accessibility resource we rely on at BCIT) describes several levels of text alternative:

  • No text alternative = Does not meet the standard
  • A brief text summary of what the video contains = Meets the minimum standard (Level A)
  • Full transcript and captioning = Meets the standard (Level AA) and ensures that most users have access to all of the information in the video
  • Full transcript and captioning + described video audio track  = Meets the highest standard (Level AAA) and provides the broadest possible access to all of the information in the video (for future consideration; not yet possible in YouTube)

Accessibility tools in YouTube

The simplest option for meeting this accessibility standard is in YouTube, prior to the video being added to the page in WordPress. If a video was scripted, creating a transcript file to upload with the video is easy. If no script is available, YouTube has automatic captioning, which produces a text file (with errors, since text to speech is far from perfect) which then can be cleaned up to become a transcript/captioning. YouTube provides a number of excellent resources on how to do this:

Embedding video and video playlists

More information about managing content in WordPress