How do I use the Accessible video widget?

Widgets are the tools with which course administrators create and build the pages of their course. 

The Accessible video widget allows for people with disabilities to access information like anyone else, without needing to identify their disability to others and request for special assistance. Achieving this relies largely on course providers creating accessible video content.

When creating accessible video and audio, it is imperative that a person with a disability is able to both use and understand the video and audio. OpenLearning’s audio and video widgets are keyboard accessible so that learners can control them, including pausing, and has settings to allow course creators to give students the option to skip over video. 

There are several things to consider when creating an accessible video: 

  • How the video is filmed.
  • How the video is shared on OpenLearning’s platform.
  • Creating a video transcript.
  • Creating audio descriptions.
  • Creating video captions.

To generate accessible video content it is important to: 

  • Consider colour contrast of the content.
  • Limit the size of the video files to no more than 2MB and break up larger files.
  • Do not use only colour to convey information.
  • Do not use flashing content or flickering content.

Captions, or a text-based alternative to videos, is imperative for video accessibility. While YouTube’s closed captioning feature has improved a lot as of late, it does not consistently generate accurate captions. Accessible video captions should: 

  • Appear simultaneously to their relevant sound.
  • Convey all of the important audio information.
  • Appear on the screen for a sufficient amount of time for reading.
  • Have sufficient colour contrast between the background and text colour.
  • Attribute text to a speaker, either descriptively or with the name of the speaker if they’ve shared it.

Transcripts are the result of the process of converting the video or audio to text and takes the form of a written document. When generating and providing video and audio transcripts it is important to: 

  • Create a clear link to the transcript that is in an accessible format.
  • Place the link to the transcript adjacent to the video or audio.
  • Ensure that it contains all speech content.
  • Includes information about the speech.
  • Includes pertinent non-speech audio.
  • Contains graphical and textual information displayed in the video.

The World Wide Web Consortium’s Multimedia Accessibility FAQ article is a helpful reference for requirements as well as examples. 

Refer to WCAG Guideline 1.2 Time-based Media to learn more about the requirements for accessible video. 

Beyond that, an accessible video player can help by supporting the following:  

  • The ability to upload video captions and subtitles.
  • The ability to upload audio captions (also known as audio descriptions).
  • The ability to add chapters for easy navigation through the video.
  • The video player can be controlled via keyboard alone.
  • The video player can be controlled via mouse alone.
  • High contrast, scalable controls.

Prior to 2020 August, OpenLearning's video widget did not support many of the features above. We have since switched to using AblePlayer, a fully accessible, cross-browser, HTML5 media player.  

AblePlayer's own documentation gives many examples of different combinations of accessible content and what that looks like in AblePlayer: See AblePlayer examples.

In order to access the Accessible video widget: 

  1. Go to the page in your course where you'd like to add a video.
  2. Select Edit mode.
  3. In the lefthand widget menu, click on the Accessible video widget icon (or you can hold and drag it wherever you'd like on the page).


OpenLearning's Video widget supports YouTube and Vimeo.

Supported video file format: mp4, mov, avi, and wmv

Maximum video upload size: 5GB


After adding a video widget to your page, you can set it up by following the instructions below: 

  1. Click on the Setup tab at the top of the video widget.
  2. Add a heading for your video.
  3. Choose your video Source. You can choose from URL or File Upload.
  4. Choose the URL option if you'd like to share a video from YouTube or another site. Choose File Upload if you'd like to share a video file from your computer.


If you choose URL, copy the link to the video you'd like to share and then paste it in the text box.  



File Upload

If you chose File Upload, click within the gray box that says Upload a video and then choose a file from your computer.  

Once the video has finished uploading, click Done

This is it for the basics of setting up the video widget! If you'd like a more in depth look at the other options this widget offers, feel free to read on.


If you're having an issue uploading your video file, please check out the following help article: 

How to convert your video to the right format for faster upload? 

At the bottom of the Setup section, there are a few options available to you regarding video playback. You can choose and edit multiple options for one video. 


Custom thumbnail

This section allows you to upload a new thumbnail image for your video. The thumbnail is the image displayed before the user clicks play.

To upload a new thumbnail, simply click within the gray box that reads drop file here and choose an image from your computer. 

Start time (optional)

In this section, you can drag the dot at the start of the grey line in order to adjust where your video playback begins.

For example, if I were to drag the point to the 2 minute mark, the video would begin playing from 2 minutes in.

 Pro Tip: We recommend uploading a thumbnail sized 800 x 450 pixels for the best results!

Tracks are what you can use to make your video accessible. Use tracks to add subtitles, captions, audio descriptions, and chapters.

OpenLearning supports tracks in WebVTT (.vtt) format only. You can learn how to make such tracks using these helpful links here and here. You can also learn through other resources such as YouTube tutorials and Google search.

To add a Track, click on Add a new track at the bottom of the Setup section. In the new pop-up window, choose the type of track (subtitles, captions, audio descriptions, or chapters), the language, and upload your track file. You can also label the track to help you stay organized and keep tabs on which files you've already uploaded.


Completing activities on a page is how Learners make progress and receive their certificates or complete the course. 

As the administrator, you can modify how each widget tracks this progress. 

To do this, click on the Completion Settings tab on the widget and choose one of the following options: 


 No completion tracking: This widget will not count towards completion. 

 Completed when visited: This widget will count as completed as soon as the Learner scrolls through this section of the page.

 Completed when started playing: This widget will count as completed as soon as the Learner clicks the play to begin watching the video. 

 Completed when played to: This widget will count as completed once the Learner has watched up to the point of the video you have set in this section. 

To set this up, choose "completed when played to" and then drag the dot on the right of the blue line to the point of the video you'd like set as the completion point.

Don't forget to click Done to save your work!



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