5 reasons to add captions to your videos

Boost your reach to 48 million Americans with this guide.

Chris Lall, CPACC
Access Bridge
3 min readOct 28, 2020


Screenshot of the youtube website
Photo by Christian Wiediger

Content creators want as many people as possible to enjoy what they spend time putting together, and whether it’s a TikTok video or a tutorial on YouTube — reach matters. The easiest way to make your content available to an additional 48 million Americans is to simply add captions to your videos.

On September 28, 2020, YouTube discontinued community captions across all channels on the platform. This has impacted the Deaf and HoH (hard of hearing) community greatly. Previously, on videos where creators did not add video titles, captions, descriptions, and subtitles people in the community could add them. Since this has been eliminated it blocks access to helpful and entertaining video for millions of Deaf and HoH people from this point forward.

There are many reasons to add captions to your video that help your business, grow your audience, and increase accessibility.

5 reasons you should add captions:

  1. Improve accessibility: You immediately open your content to millions of people by making it accessible. That’s a lot of views! To put that in perspective, the WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that there are 466 million people in the world with disabling hearing loss.
  2. Decrease legal risk: If you’re publishing video content for an organization, keep in mind that accessibility is a protected civil right thanks to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). There were 2,232 lawsuits filed in 2019 due to inaccessible websites. Besides being a legal requirement, it’s also the right thing to do.
  3. Attract an international audience: When viewers can discover your content in their own language, you win them over. Google estimates that “on average, over two-thirds of a creator’s audience watch time comes from outside of their home area.” The same captions you add for Disabled viewers can work as subtitles for people who speak English as a second (or third) language. Check out their tools for translating content.
  4. Seriously boost your SEO: Captions boost your SEO by providing additional information for the algorithms to consume related to your content on top of the video title and description. Your captions are indexed and have the ability to really make an impact on your keyword depth.
  5. Maximize your viewability: Adding captions accommodates situations where people want to watch your content but can’t play the sound. For example, if your earbuds need to charge or if you’re in a quiet room and do not want to disturb the people around you. Or perhaps you’re in a super loud room and you want to binge-watch your new favorite show in peace.

I hope this helps to understand the many benefits of adding captions to your videos for people with disabilities who depend on them, and for all of us.

The UX Collective donates US$1 for each article published in our platform. This story contributed to Bay Area Black Designers: a professional development community for Black people who are digital designers and researchers in the San Francisco Bay Area. By joining together in community, members share inspiration, connection, peer mentorship, professional development, resources, feedback, support, and resilience. Silence against systemic racism is not an option. Build the design community you believe in.



Chris Lall, CPACC
Access Bridge

Working to shift UX design conversations to center people with disabilities. In a state of continuous learning. Sharing what I learn through Access Bridge.