[INFOGRAPHIC] Survey Results: Closed Caption Use
Updated: June 3, 2019
At 3Play Media, we love captions, and we want to learn more about how they’re being used.
An Ofcom study found that 80% of people who use closed captions aren’t deaf or heard of hearing. We’re curious to learn more about who these people are and how, when, and why they use captions.
That’s why we decided to create a survey on caption use. We had 165 people respond to the survey, which was almost entirely distributed via social media.
How Many People Use Captions?
Closed captions provide a wide range of benefits in addition to accessibility. Many people use them to help maintain focus, watch videos in sound-sensitive or noisy environments, learn vocabulary, and decipher thick accents or poor audio quality. The results of this survey confirm this and help us gain a better understanding of how and why people utilize closed captions. Out of the 165 survey respondents, 162 (98%) said they watch videos with the closed captions turned on. This is great!
Why Do People Use Captions?
So what’s everyone using these captions for? Out of the 162 people who said they utilize closed captions, only 41 (25%) of them are using captions to accommodate a hearing disability. It might be surprising to learn that for this survey, the number one reason people are utilizing captions is not to accommodate for a disability, but rather to help with focus. This result mirrors the findings of the
national research study on student uses and perceptions of captions, where 65% of respondents chose focus as the reason they utilize captions. Using closed captions to watch videos in noisy environments or to decipher heavy accents and mumbled speech tied closely in second place.
As you can tell, many people are using closed captions for things other than accessibility. When asked if they require closed captions to accommodate a disability, more than half of the respondents answered that they do not require closed captions. This is a very compelling finding. Despite being required, captions are not always provided. Oftentimes captioning is really only thought of as a tool for the Deaf or hard of hearing, and therefore only utilized by a small percentage of the population. However, captioning should really be thought of as an asset to all individuals. The findings in this survey confirm that captioning is beneficial for everyone, regardless of disability, and should be provided for all to enjoy.
To gain a better understanding of the participants’ views on captioning, we also asked participants if someone close to them required captions for a disability. Half of respondents answered that at least one or several people close to them do require captions. The other half of respondents were either not sure or not aware if anyone close to them requires captions. This shows that there doesn’t seem to be a clear correlation between knowing someone who needs captions and preferring captions. Most of our survey respondents felt positively about captions regardless of whether or not they, or someone close to them, needed captions for a disability.
How Do People Feel When Captions Aren’t Available?
When we asked people how they feel when captions are not available for videos that they’d like to watch, most of them felt very negatively. Despite most of our participants not requiring captions, and about half of them not having someone close to them require captions, the negative feeling was incredibly large. Most respondents felt disappointed, followed by annoyed, and then inconvenienced.
The survey results confirmed many things we already knew about captioning, but shed a new light on the number of people who are in favor of captioning. It is pretty clear from these findings that even individuals who do not necessarily need or require captions, utilize captions when available. Similarly, many people feel negatively when captions don’t exist, even if they do not need them for an accommodation. To learn more about caption use, take a look at the infographic below!
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