7 Reasons Why Societies and Associations Should Caption Their Videos

March 4, 2019 BY JACLYN LEDUC
Updated: January 17, 2020

Societies and associations are non-profit organizations that dedicate time, finances, and resources towards the advancement of an area of study or a social cause. There’s no denying that these organizations do great things for our society; however, the lack of accessible resources offered by these organizations is problematic.

video camera

Many societies and associations are making a conscious effort to offer accessible video content with closed captions and transcripts, but others have not yet made a move towards video accessibility. Perhaps you are dedicated to making resources within your organization available to all people. What should your next step be?

The path towards accessibility for societies and associations starts with understanding the benefits that captions can bring to your organization and to the people that it serves.

Below, we discuss some of the reasons why every society and association should caption their videos.


Captions Make Video Resources More Accessible

Many societies and associations provide valuable video resources such as online courses, webinars, and recorded conferences. However, for those with hearing loss and other disabilities, videos are not always accessible.

The deaf and hard of hearing population is prominent, and in the U.S. alone, it’s composed of 48 million people. Globally, 466 million individuals have disabling hearing loss, and that number is rising. Adding accurate closed captions ensures that organizations’ videos are accessible to those with hearing loss.

Organizations should also remember that people with other disabilities, such as learning disabilities or neurological disorders, benefit from captions, too. Because captions allow viewers to both see and hear the contents of the video at once, it can significantly improve the viewing experience.

Captions Enhance Learning Experiences

Many societies and organizations provide educational video resources, and viewers would benefit from captions. For example, the National Geographic Society offers a video resource library specifically for use in classroom environments, and the American Society of Civil Engineers publishes prerecorded courses for those continuing their civil engineering education.

viewing audience

Did you know that captions can serve as a learning aid?

In one study where over 2,000 college students were surveyed, 98.6% of respondents said that they find captions helpful for their learning, and the majority of that group said that they use captions because doing so improves their comprehension. Interestingly, 71% of student respondents indicated that they don’t have a hearing difficulty, yet 75% said they still use captions as a learning aid.

The benefit of incorporating closed captions into education-focused video content is that it can help viewers to understand complex content centered around niche fields of research. Captioning educational video content enhances the learning experience for the end user overall, and viewers with access to accurate captions may see a vast improvement in their ability to focus and to comprehend information.

Captions Improve User Experience and Engagement

Closed captions are often thought of as an accommodation or accessible solution for those with disabilities; however, captions can help everyone.

internet video

In addition to elevating the learning experience for viewers, captions facilitate a better user experience and promote user engagement. One research study by the University of Iowa showed that people recall information better after seeing and hearing it, and captions give your audience the option to use both senses.

It’s important to keep user experience and engagement in mind when sharing video resources; a good user experience encourages your audience to return for more resources, and optimal video engagement delivers greater value to viewers.

The simple addition of captions helps to engage your audience and reinforces the message of the video of itself.

 How Non-Profit Organizations Can Create Accessible Video   ➡️

Searchability Adds Value to Gated Resources

We’ve already discussed how captions enrich the viewing experience, but for organizations that provide exclusive resources for members, adding value to video content is even more critical. One way to do this is to give audiences the option to search through videos.

Societies and associations want to make their members happy, and they can do so by ensuring their video resources possess credible information and deliver a high-quality viewing experience. Adding accurate captions is a great way to provide a top-of-the-line user experience, but interactive transcripts and playlist search bring in the additional element of search.

With the interactive transcript tool, your audience can follow an on-page, time-synchronized transcript while they watch your videos and search for topics and terms within the video itself. On the other hand, Playlist Search compiles large video and audio libraries into playlists and lets users search across your entire video or audio library. Together, these two tools create the ultimate video search experience.

Search results are displayed on visual timelines for all relevant media files. You can expand a segment to view its corresponding transcript or begin playing the media from that exact point. As the publisher, you can define the group of videos being searched. You can also apply custom styling and turn features on and off.

Reach a Global Audience with Captions

Organizations that distribute resources on an international level must consider the diversity of their audience and the various languages they speak.

The good news is that closed captions don’t just benefit those with disabilities, they also make videos more accessible to those who speak English as a second language. Closed captions allow English as a Second Language (ESL) viewers to absorb information more efficiently by visually displaying difficult spellings and unfamiliar words.

Even with closed captions, however, viewers who don’t speak English may still have difficulties engaging with your video content, but with captions, the solution to this is simple. Once you have an English transcript, it’s easy to translate it into almost any language using a translation service. Offering captions and transcripts in many languages is an effective way to provide accessible content for global audiences.

Captions Are ADA Compliant

video clip

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a broad, anti-discrimination law for people with disabilities. Titles II and III of the ADA affect web accessibility and closed captioning. It applies to public entities at the state and local level and to “places of public accommodation.”

Although the ADA doesn’t provide clear web accessibility regulations for online-only organizations, it doesn’t mean that a society or association can’t be sued for inaccessible video. In fact, uncertainty in the law leaves space for interpretation by judges, and in recent years, the law has been extended to online accommodations through case law.

Because societies and associations supply resources that are open to both private members and members of the public, they should assume that they fall under the category of “place of public accommodation.” Because of the way courts have ruled on past digital accessibility cases, these organizations should work towards accurately captioning all video content to avoid potential accessibility lawsuits.

Increase Organic Traffic With Captions and Transcripts

Societies and associations focusing on brand awareness and membership growth should prioritize search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Good SEO practices will help increase your ranking on search engines and will potentially drive organic traffic to your organization’s website.


Video SEO is essentially the same as traditional SEO in that you can optimize videos for search engines much like blog posts or product pages. Search engine bots are responsible for indexing content, but they aren’t able to watch videos. However, adding captions or transcripts allows bots to read the contents of videos and to index it appropriately.

Captioning and transcription are two of the best ways to increase video SEO. By associating accurate captions and/or transcripts with your videos, your organization can begin to drive more traffic to its website and to build more awareness around its brand.

Check out how This American Life increased the number of unique visitors to its website by 4.18% with transcripts.

How Can 3Play Media Help?

The task of captioning 100% of a video library may seem daunting, especially if your organization is producing or publishing high volumes of video content. But rest assured: there are captioning solutions available that are fit for the unique needs of societies and associations and that will make the captioning process painless.

We at 3Play Media are dedicated to helping our customers make their videos accessible. We offer a variety of solutions that fit the unique needs of many types of organizations, including societies and associations. These solutions include:

  • Guaranteed 99% accuracy for all types of content, including complex or technical terminology
  • Tools that improve the user experience, such as an interactive transcript and a searchable playlist plugin
  • Legally compliant captioning and transcription practices; all of 3Play Media’s captions and transcripts are ADA compliant

Now that you know about all of the great things that captions can do for your organization and for your audience, don’t wait any longer. Join the webinar to learn more!

Register for the webinar to learn more

3play media logo in blue

Subscribe to the Blog Digest

Sign up to receive our blog digest and other information on this topic. You can unsubscribe anytime.

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy.