10 Rules You Need to Create Great Captioned Videos

We have a new problem with videos. It’s sort of a good problem to have. With more do-it-yourself captioning software hitting the market, more people are captioning their videos. However, the options they select for their captions aren’t good quality and hurt the user experience.

When you watch captions for decades, you learn what works and what doesn’t work. The key to great captions is invisibility.

Invisibility? Meryl, are you kidding me? If they’re not there, how can you read them?

Not that kind of invisibility. Rather, they don’t clamor for my attention. They don’t have me noticing them and obsessing over their poor formatting.

If I notice something about the captions, that’s usually not a good sign.

Captions up top? I notice. (Unless it’s when the credits appear.)

Captions hard to read? I notice and quit watching.

These 10 rules for great captioned videos are based on experience. If you want to know how to caption videos, refer to the Captioned Guide. It contains Resources with captioning guidelines.

The text version of these videos are also in the Captioned Guide. I separated these to make the guide more manageable.

1. Readability

2. Accuracy

3. Synchronized

4. Length

5. Position

6. Sound

7. Credits

8. Voice

9. Speaker

10. Flow

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