UCL mediacentral


Why use Captions

Captions benefit everyone, but they’re imperative for making video content accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Screen view of Captions edit page showing edit in progress
5 reasons why you should caption your video content


When you make your content accessible, you allow people who might be deaf or hard of hearing to have access to the videos you produce. More than 5% of the world's population has some form of hearing loss, by adding captions there is an opportunity to serve and reach this group. Accurately captioning content is an inclusive step which, can have a dramatic impact not only for learning and teaching but also for student marketing content. UCL is now as open and inclusive as possible and accessibility is a core component of the university marketing plan.

If you’re not sure how to add captions to your video content, we’ve created a guide on how to that. We also show how you can do this for whatever platform you are using - not just Mediacentral.

Helping people with English as a Second Language (ESL)

If you want to reach a larger audience, you should add captions to a video to make it easier for non-native English speakers to understand. 

Viewing videos with captions over the spoken audio allows learners to develop an ear for the more nuanced features of the English language, especially when idioms and slang terms are used. By offering captions, you’re aiding the viewer in their use of vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, syntax, and many other linguistic features.

Improve the average video watch time

Captions tend to grab and hold an audience’s attention, people are more likely to watch a video to its completion if they have the option to turn on captions. 

If you’ve jotted down notes at a lecture, knowing that this will assist you to recall the information at a later date, then you have experienced how effective it is to engage multiple senses. An audience subjected to a continuous flow of information from multiple directions is more likely to remember the content in a video when the message is reinforced with text.

Indexing for search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engines can’t crawl video. However, they can crawl the text on websites. If it is important to rank your video higher on Google, then add captions and a transcript to your video.

User Experience

80% of people who use captions are not deaf or hard of hearing. Captions give an audience the ability to enjoy video content regardless of the environment they are in. This is useful when an individual is in a noisy area or when it's important that there is a need to focus on the speech in the video and especially when the speech is difficult to understand. Using captions gives viewers wherever and whenever the flexibility to watch in a way that suits them.