Making e-learning accessible to learners with different needs is easier than ever with closed captions in Storyline 360. Closed captioning (CC) displays a text transcription on screen of the audio portion of a video or audio file while the audio is playing. That makes it easy for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to follow along with multimedia content.
Adding accessibility features such as closed captioning unlocks your e-learning for learners with different kinds of needs and abilities. That’s something many of your learners need—and for some situations, it’s even a legal requirement.
In addition to improving accessibility, there are learning benefits to using closed captions. For example:
- Captions appeal to learners who prefer to read information. They may help improve comprehension and retention of media content by helping the learner maintain concentration on the screen.
- Captions ensure learners can access their e-learning anywhere, and even without headphones (on a noisy bus, in an open-plan workspace, etc.).
- Captions are especially helpful for people for whom English is a second language. They help with comprehension of fast speech, accents, mumbling, brand names, and more.
With all these benefits, let’s take a look at how to create closed captions with Storyline. Good news! It’s super-easy to do, like this:
Step 1: Create the Caption Files
The first step is to create the caption files for your audio or video files. Storyline supports SRT, VTT, SBV, and SUB caption files. You’ll need a tool or service to create these files. If you don’t already have a process for this, here are some suggestions:
- YouTube: A fast, easy, and free option for generating captions; there are automatic and manual captioning options. Read more detailed steps here.
- Amara: Another free option for video captions. Read more detailed steps here.
- Professional Transcription Service: Perhaps the easiest and highest-quality option; the trade-off is you’ll have to pay for the service.
Step 2: Import the Captions into Your Storyline Project
Now it’s time to get your caption files into Storyline 360. You can import captions simultaneously with your media, or you can import captions separately.
Import Captions Simultaneously with Media: If your caption files have the same names as your media files and are stored in the same folder with the media, they’ll automatically import into Storyline 360 when you import your media.
For example: I have a video called MyVideo.mp4 and a caption file named MyVideo.srt in the same folder. I only need to import the video, and the captions will automatically import and sync with the video.
- Import Captions after Adding Media: To import captions after adding media to your Storyline project, simply select the audio track or video that you want to caption, and from the Options tab on the Storyline ribbon click the plus sign (+) next to Captions. Then you can browse to the caption file you want to import, and click Open.
And voila! That’s how easy it is to import your closed captions into your Storyline 360 project.
As a next step, you may want to adjust the font style of your closed captions so they are in sync with the rest of your course. It’s very easy to do under the Colors & Effects section of the Player Properties. You’ll notice a Captions font dropdown for selecting a font, and you can also increase the font size of your captions by increasing the Player text size percentage.
By default, the Closed Captions button will appear in the Storyline player on slides or layers where captions are used, and users can click this button to toggle the captions on and off.
If you’re not using Storyline’s default player, you’ll be pleased to know you can create your own custom CC button with triggers to turn on and off the closed captions. Just add a trigger to a button with these trigger wizard parameters to create a toggle:
- Action: Adjust Variable
- Variable: Player.DisplayCaptions
- Operator: = NOT Assignment
- When: User clicks
- Object: Select your custom button from the drop-down list.
Now that you can import closed captions in Storyline 360, you not only improve accessibility, but also the overall learning experience in your next projects.
Get a free, 60-day trial of Articulate 360 to try out these Storyline 360 features. And if you have any questions, post them in the comments!