Making digital content accessible is an important aspect of modern UX design, as the right website design tools and options enable all different kinds of users to access information or entertainment regardless of their varied abilities. Closed captioning and subtitling are a great way to make video content more inclusive by providing visual support for those who may have difficulty understanding audio context.

This blog dives into best practices related to accessibility and user experience when it comes to designing closed captioning and subtitles for digital media.

We will cover topics such as creating legible font types with appropriate sizing and text placement, preserving timing accuracy for captions versus subtitles, enabling customization options, testing standards adherence, improving UX through feedback analysis, addressing language-specific needs, applying these features within environments like streaming players and third-

Closed Captioning and Subtitles

Closed Captioning and Subtitles


Difference between closed captioning and subtitles

Closed captioning and subtitles are two of the most popular accessibility features that can improve user experience.

Closed captioning provides a text translation of the dialogue, background noise, and contextual elements such as sound effects while preserving timing along with audio playback. Subtitles only translate words that are spoken without carrying information about the tone or pitch of voice.

This makes the benefits more focused on increasing comprehension for those who have muted their devices or have difficulty in understanding speech.

Closed captions may include non-verbal cues such as laughter, feelings reflected through vocal intonation to add liveliness and understanding to content while subtitles omit these elements from representation, making captions superior for accessibility purposes.

Benefits of closed captioning and subtitles for various user groups

Closed captioning and subtitles are crucial elements of creating accessible digital experiences.

They have various benefits for different users, including those who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, language learners, those with poor vision/no sight, people in noisy spaces, viewers outside native tongue regions, and more.

Closed captioning can show conversations even during quiet parts while subtitles enable international audiences to track words spoken by actors in films and tv shows merely by reading them rather than understanding what’s spoken in the dialogue natively.

By providing captions/subtitles that accurately reflect audio tracks on display media content — such attuned experience ensures higher engagement among all user types.

Designing Accessible Closed Captioning and Subtitles

Designing Accessible Closed Captioning and Subtitles


Considerations for font type, size, and color contrast

The choice of font style, size, and color contrast can have a significant impact on the readability of closed captioning or subtitles for users.

To make it easier for viewers to actually view and comprehend these accessibility features without compromising the quality of their viewing experience, it is important that designers consider these factors carefully.

Particularly, sizes should be large and accessible enough even when displayed in small screens. Colors are also essential as many people with visual disabilities rely on those used to differentiate text from its background so they can read easily.

Executed properly with sufficient contrast between characters against the background will ensure that users fully understand closed captions' content.

Choosing appropriate text placement and background transparency

Text placement and background transparency need to be carefully chosen when designing accessible closed captioning and subtitles.

Text should remain onscreen long enough for viewers to process its content while remaining within the bottom 16:9 television standard area of the screen where captions are most clearly seen. Bright backgrounds can reduce visibility, so translucent greens or shades of grey work best with white text.

Handling timing and synchronization of captions or subtitles

To ensure seamless accessibility, closed captioning and subtitling need to be correctly timed and synchronized. Timings should account for natural monologues in dialogues as well as unscripted comments.

Oftentimes, captions or subtitles must also match up with pauses, intonations, music, or sound effects mentioned by the speaker in a video which can require extra attention to detail during preparation. Captions should also include momentary occurrences and interactive on-screen texts that accompany the audio dialogue.

Providing options for customization and user preferences

In designing accessible closed captioning and subtitles, it is important to provide options for customization that allow users to tailor their experience. Setting up user preferences such as font type, size, color contrast, text placement and background transparency can help individuals better understand and enjoy the content.

Additionally, offering language preferences this lets those accessing your captions or subtitles quickly find a version in their preferred language or dialect when available. Providing these customizable options to different user types with personalization features tailored for accessibility needs will improve the overall UX design of media viewing.

Improving User Experience with Closed Captioning and Subtitles

Improving User Experience with Closed Captioning and Subtitles


Ensuring accurate and comprehensive captioning or subtitling

A successful closed captioning and subtitle experience rely on accurate and comprehensive captions or subtitles for full comprehension.

Naturally generated or intelligent voice recognition technologies can be used to automatically create closed captions but ideally, these should be reviewed by a human expert and edited where necessary for maximum accuracy.

Furthermore, transcription of original dialogue as well as the addition of informative descriptions (e.g sound effects) associated with the footage should strive for quality representation of audio information in the text — resulting in an optimal user experience while ensuring understanding among viewers from any background.

Optimizing readability through proper grammar, punctuation, and formatting

Effective closed captioning and subtitling can greatly improve the user experience by providing a high-quality experience in different languages and dialects through accurate grammar, punctuation, spelling corrections, and other appropriate formatting adjustments.

By emphasizing proper capitalization on acronyms, proper spacing between words or paragraphs within subtitles to make them easier to read; ensuring that confusing or contextual words are written correctly; using menu descriptions that explain the help features thoroughly; plus adding additional captions/subtitles for sound effects or any type of non-verbal media cue—all these concrete elements ensure added usability when designing accessible captions and subtitles.

Addressing challenges for different languages and dialects

Addressing challenges for different languages and dialects is key to improving the user experience with closed captioning and subtitles.Increased deployments of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in video analysis can detect ad identify audio website design elements within multiple languages or dialects, as well as speech rates.Enhancing automated transcriptions, along with manual corrections, are essential in overcoming language barriers in captioning and subtitling processes.

Quality assurance checks such as phonetic accuracy, syntactic consistency etc also play an important role in ensuring optimal visibility from a UX design perspective across different cultures and geographical regions.

Implementing Closed Captioning and Subtitles in Various Platforms

Incorporating accessibility features in video players and streaming platforms

Implementing closed captioning and subtitles in video players and streaming platforms requires the incorporation of accessibility features.

This should include allowing captions control options such as being able to freely toggle them on/off with access keys, customize text size, color contrast, styles, position as well as background transparency.

Additionally, the selection and delivery of language-dependent captioned/subtitled content should be seamless and tailored online according to users’ language requirements or preference settings saving time navigating for required content.

Compatibility with different devices and operating systems

Implementing closed captioning and subtitles on various platforms requires consideration of compatibility with different devices and operating systems.

Captions and subtitles should be supported correctly when users access digital content from personal computers, mobile phones, tablets, smart TVs, game consoles etc.

Additionally, it is essential to test the rendered images on target platforms with different screen sizes for optimal experience. Compatibility testing must also be done extensively with respective OS versions such as Windows 10 , Android 8.0 , iOS 11 etc for consistent performance.

Integration with social media platforms and third-party applications

Integrating closed captions or subtitles into social media platforms and third-party applications requires access to all text and formatting options, correctly coded files from source videos where audible content transforms into visual information and automated tools which simultaneously translate audio language into typography that is useful and readable for audience understanding.

Social media feedback on videos should also be understood swiftly in order to respond accurately and thoughtfully when possible. Multiple builds for different video formats across various platforms should ensure consistent user experience regardless of the system or device used.

User Feedback and Continuous Improvement

Encouraging user feedback and engagement

Encouraging user feedback and engagement is paramount in creating a positive experience with closed captioning and subtitles.

Allowing users to have their concerns noted and acknowledged demonstrates an effective commitment by content creators to understanding the intricacies of disability accessibility needs.This can be achieved by providing clear contact methods, such as dedicated email addresses or customer help desks which users can approach for questions related to post-viewing experiences.

Providing surveys are also helpful in gauging user satisfaction levels to identify areas that require additional improvement or features that may not have been previously considered.

Creating a safe online platform where users will feel comfortable leaving genuine reviews often offers valuable insight into what elements resonated most with viewers during their thoroughly engaging multimedia experiences.

Iterative design process for accessibility enhancements

Optimizing accessibility with user feedback is a key part of designing closed captioning and subtitles that enhance the user experience while at the same time bolstering your own internal design ROI.

Through an iterative design process, designers can evaluate how users interact with their digital content and proactively identify and respond to issues related to captioning or subtitling.

Securing accurate, comprehensive feedback from diverse groups of users allow for continuous improvement by informing decisions on customization features, font choices, text placement behavior, completion rate, readability levels, etc., thereby increasing access for different types of viewers while multiplying engagement across platforms.


Overall, it is essential that we continue to prioritize user experience when designing accessible closed captioning and subtitles.

Ensuring accuracy and comprehensiveness of captions or subtitles, optimizing readability with proper grammar and punctuation, addressing challenges for different languages and dialects, testing accessibility compliance, and incorporating user feedback in the iterative website design process — all these practices will help create an inclusive environment that improves the quality of digital content available to users.

Timothy Carter
Chief Revenue Officer

Timothy Carter is the Chief Revenue Officer. Tim leads all revenue-generation activities for website design and web development activities. He has helped to scale sales teams with the right mix of hustle and finesse. Based in Seattle, Washington, Tim enjoys spending time in Hawaii with family and playing disc golf.

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