This post was originally published in September 2019 and updated in August 2021

Vimeo is committed to empowering creators of all kinds with the tools they need to succeed with video. Part of that success means offering a fully accessible player that can reach any audience, regardless of their cognitive, visual, or physical abilities. 

For that reason, we’re announcing some exciting updates that will make the Vimeo player more accessible for all. Before we dive in, let’s discuss what ‘video accessibility’ means and its importance to creating video content for all audiences.

So what is video accessibility anyway?

Simply put, video accessibility means that a video has captions, audio description, and a video transcript so that anyone who watches it can understand it’s meaning. A description of the visual information being presented is the essential component of any accessible video.

Another piece of video accessibility to consider is careful use of color, text, and animation to ensure that nothing is inaccessible to visually impaired viewers. Similarly, a video shouldn’t contain excessive ‘flashes’ and bursts of bright color.

Check out an example of an accessible video, captions and all, below:

Vimeo’s commitment to video accessibility

Vimeo remains committed to providing an equitable viewing experience for all, as outlined in the accessibility measures described below:

WCAG compliance

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is a set of web standards that ensure accessibility for people with disabilities. There are three levels of compliance within these guidelines: A, AA, and AAA — the last being the most accessible a website can be. Today’s updates bring the Vimeo player into compliance with AA standards. You can read more about the criteria here.

Live automated closed captions

Vimeo Enterprise and Advanced customers can enable automated closed captions on their live streams. Closed captions on live streams make it possible for those with diverse levels of aural abilities, language comprehension skills, and learning styles to consume and enjoy live content. You can learn more about what they are, and how to implement them, here

Automatic transcription

We’ve enabled automatic closed captioning on all Enterprise VOD content, giving team members the power to search for keywords in any relevant video and find the exact moment they’re looking for, in just seconds. These captions are enabled by default for Enterprise users.

Bonus points!

Captioning your video content can help improve your video’s SEO performance. Google and other search engines can index closed captions from their text files, meaning it will be easier for them to understand the subject matter of your video and, thus, improve ranking.

Vimeo player features:

+ Support for subtitles and captions: Vimeo allows creators to upload caption and subtitle files to any video. To turn on captions or subtitles when viewing a video, click the CC button in the player’s bottom toolbar.

+ Higher color contrast: To ensure users of all sight abilities can fully experience videos on Vimeo, our player will now maintain a default color contrast ratio, in compliance with AA standards. 

+ Clearer focus states: For users who rely on their keyboards to navigate, we’ve added changes that make it clear which element in the player is active at any given time. Users will now see a blue or white box around the active element, with a high color contrast.

+ Better support for screen readers: For users who rely on screen readers (e.g. JAWS, NVDA), we ensure that any element in the Vimeo player can be read accordingly.

A note on improving video accessibility

Accessibility creates a sense of belonging by being inclusive. This means giving all individuals the opportunity to participate, in every aspect, to the fullest extent possible. Accessibility is not limited to varying abilities; everyone can benefit when something is accessible. It’s a win across the board.

The Vimeo player offers support for captions and subtitles across multiple devices. We’re passionate about accessibility, and we’re actively working on making all Vimeo products more accessible, too. 

For more information on Vimeo’s accessibility features, please review the below help center content: 

Adding captions or subtitles to your video

Enabling captions and subtitles in embeds by default

Downloading your video with captions or subtitles

Adding automatic closed captioning for live events

How to manually caption events

Explore the fully-accessible Vimeo video player

Updated in August 2021 to reflect new product updates.