Case study- Using Subtitles to Improve Accessibility: IGTV UX Design

Divami Design Labs
6 min readJul 7, 2022

As a business owner and marketer, one of the most prominent ways to get your content to your target audience is to improve its accessibility with captions. Statistics show that about 15% of the world’s population suffers from a disability. Also, 92% of people watch videos with the sound off, and users from different backgrounds speak multiple languages.

Case study- Using Subtitles to Improve Accessibility: IGTV UX Design

However, inserting subtitles in videos can enhance accessibility, increase engagement, and boost conversions. Research shows that 66% of users watch videos to completion without captions, while 91% of viewers complete videos to completion with subtitles.

To improve accessibility and accommodate different users, Instagram has improved its UX design and rolled out auto-generated captions for IGTV videos.

How IGTV is improving accessibility with Captions:

Launched in 2018, IGTV is a long-form video channel feature on the Instagram app. Many brands have witnessed its positive impact since its launch; statistics show that businesses that use Igtv experience a 300% growth increase. Instagram is constantly improving its UX design to accommodate more users. Previously, it adopted the “Alt text” feature for the visually impaired. Recently, it introduced auto-generated captions to increase Igtv’s content accessibility further. The auto-generated captions allow users to add subtitles to videos automatically.

Let’s look at how IGTV’s auto-generated captions improve content accessibility.

1. It makes content easy to engage with without sound

People cherish convenience now more than ever, including in how they consume content on social media. They want to be able to watch videos whenever and wherever they are — whether they are commuting to work by public transport or at their desk at work.

Therefore, businesses are likely to miss out on the 92% of viewers who prefer to watch videos without sound if they don’t subtitle their videos. Thankfully, Instagram’s introduction of auto-generated captions makes it possible for brands to involve a large percentage of audiences who like to consume visual content on mute.

Subtitles offer a more accessible way for users to watch and interact with IGTV. Additionally, subtitles make videos easier to consume. It allows brands to deliver a clear message, enabling their followers to digest them easily. Users can also refer to the subtitles if a statement in the audio is unclear, enabling them to grasp every aspect of the content. Also, it’s easier for them to engage and take the desired action when they understand the content, helping brands achieve their goals.

2. It accommodates people with hearing disabilities

Improving Instagram UX design with auto-generated captions makes the visuals better accessible to people with hearing impairment. Statistics state that 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, and 360 million people worldwide have a hearing disability.

Therefore, Instagram has empowered these categories of people to consume visuals better despite their disability, increasing accessibility. They can read captions if they can’t hear the Igtv audio, allowing them to understand the message regardless of their hearing impairment.

As a result, there’s an increase in audience engagement as accommodating more users promotes interactions. Since they can read the content in the visuals, they can respond, and give feedback, increasing viewership and enabling the audience to take the desired action. Therefore, Instagram’s introduction of automatic captions makes Igtv more inclusive for everyone, including those with hearing disabilities. While followers benefit from these perks, brands also enjoy a more interactive and interested audience.

3. It accommodates foreign users

Enhancing Igtv with automatic subtitles improves content accessibility by allowing brands to engage people with different languages. For example, although English is an official language, not everyone speaks and understands it. Subtitling videos enable you to pick your audience’s most preferred language for subtitles. This helps you involve your audiences deeply, making the content enjoyable to consume.

IGTV videos that are subtitled in the audience’s language are better engaging. Rather than ignoring the content while scrolling through their field, viewing video content subtitled in the language they understand will make the video inclusive, boosting interaction.

How to include auto-generated captions on IGTV

Follow these steps to maximize Instagram’s UX design feature and add automatic subtitles to your videos:

Step 1- Visit your Instagram settings and find “account.”
Step 2- Tap “captions” and click “auto-generated” captions.
Step 3- After clicking on the auto-generated captions feature, turn on “auto-captioning” in your Instagram’s settings.
Step 4- your IGTV settings and click “Upload your IGTV” video
Step 5- Turn on “Auto-generated captions”
Step 6- Tap on advanced settings after clicking the “Upload your Igtv” video. You will find “Auto-generated captions” and tap “Done.”

If you follow these steps accordingly, you will be able to generate captions automatically on your Igtv videos.

The downsides of IGTV auto-generated captions

Although introducing automatic captions is a big step to enhancing accessibility and including more users to participate in videos, it has its shortcomings.

Let’s examine the downside below:

1. Lack of accuracy

Accuracy is one of the significant downsides to using auto-generated captions for Igtv content. Igtv uses automatic speech recognition (ASR). Therefore most of the captions will not be 100% correct; research shows a 50% chance that auto-generated subtitles may be inaccurate.

There are often translation, grammatical or punctuation errors, and audience confusion. Factors like background noise and accent will directly influence the subtitles when using ASR to generate captions for your Igtv content, making it an unreliable process.

2. Subtitles in limited languages

Instagram’s auto-generated captions can subtitle only in seventeen languages. This includes English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Vietnamese, Italian, German, Turkish, Russian, Thai, Tagalog, Urdu, Malay, Hindi, and Japanese.

This means you can’t subtitle your Igtv video if your language doesn’t fall into any of these categories, preventing you from creating highly accessible content for your users.

3. Automatic captions aren’t always designed for SEO

Another major downside of using auto-generated subtitles is that they don’t enhance your SEO optimization (SEO) strategy.

Subtitled videos are excellent for SEO because they enable the algorithm to crawl text. However, the search engine algorithm doesn’t always index videos with automatic captions because of the poor captioning quality, hampering your SEO strategy.

An alternative to IGTV’s auto-generated subtitles

Improving your IGTV’s UX design goes beyond generating hasty subtitles for your audience. To make your audience understand your message and access your content easily, you need efficient subtitling software. This software can:

1. Provide higher accuracy

An excellent subtitle generator offers higher accuracy than auto-generated captions. This promotes clarity, enabling your audience to digest your content without misinterpretation. Additionally, accurate subtitles depict a high level of professionalism, portraying you as a credible brand your followers can trust.

2. Support multiple languages

An excellent audio-to-text converting tool supports more languages than an automatic subtitle generator. For example, HappyScribe’s subtitle generator supports over fifty languages, enabling common and not-so-common languages like Hebrew, Swahili, Tamil, Thai, etc. This means there is a high chance the converter will support the language spoken in your Igtv video.

3. They enhance SEO

Excellent audio-to-text converter improves your search engine rankings. The high level of captioning allows the algorithm to index your content, optimizing it for SEO.

Additionally, you can include relevant keywords in your subtitles. Your Igtv videos can rank on Instagram and the search engine when users search for related keywords. It also makes your content better accessible because your audience can find your videos easily.

Conclusion

Video subtitles are crucial to improving user experiences and content accessibility across platforms. This article discusses how the newly adopted Igtv auto-generated subtitles have improved accessibility and helped brands engage better with their audience on Instagram.

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