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How to Make Your Stream More Accessible

Stream More Accessible

Whether it’s gear, software, on-stream presence, or keeping up with the latest memes, there are so many things to consider as a livestream broadcaster. One important thing worth considering is how accessible your stream is to your audience. 

You can do several things to make your stream more accessible to your viewers and improve your experience as a broadcaster. This article will discuss some best practices and various tools you can use. While not a comprehensive guide, this article will help you think about accessibility improvements. 

Closed Captioning

Captioning is a simple but impactful way to make your stream more accessible. On Twitch, you have several options to caption your stream. This can be done through extensions or by connecting plug-ins to your broadcasting software. Each has its pros and cons, so try different ones to see how they work for you and your viewers. Keep in mind that many of these closed captioners only caption your input device – your microphone. Also, consider that they do not caption the voices in games or your friends in your Discord chat. All these options are free, but consider donating to the developer to help offset the costs of hosting these services.

Closed Captions for Streams – Created by Alejo Pereyra

Closed Captions for Streams Screenshot

Pros:

  • Twitch Extension Based
  • Optional to viewers
  • Has various coloring settings
  • Ability to increase or decrease font
  • OpenDyslexic font to help viewers who have dyslexia 
  • Variety of languages to choose from, as well as dialects of those languages
  • You can have it as an overlay, a panel in your channel description, or component

Cons:

  • Have to remember to open a browser window before you start stream 
  • Only available for Google Chrome
  • Works during livestream only, not on VODs
  • It does not currently work with mobile

Stream Closed Captioner – Created by talk2megooseman

Stream Closed Captioner Screenshot

Pros: 

  • Dyslexia font
  • Change font size
  • Toggle between uppercase and lowercase
  • Add or remove text box
  • Request translation via bits
  • Mobile options
  • Can also be used for Zoom meetings

Cons:

  • Have to remember to open a browser window before you start a stream.
  • Only available for Google Chrome.
  • Works during livestream only, not on VODs (must use OBS websocket if you would like to)

Meditek Closed Captions – Created by Meditek GbR

Meditek Closed Captions Screenshot

Pros:

  • Twitch Extension Based
  • Ability to change the color of text and change fonts
  • Works on mobile
  • Has delay settings

Cons:

  • The website is not secure 
  • Not widely in use on a lot of streams, unable to verify its efficacy 

Closed Captioning via Google Speech Recognition 

Closed Captioning via Google Screenshot

Pros:

  • OBS Plug-in
  • Connects to OBS studio
  • Set it and forget it
  • Works live and in VODs; no Twitch extension required
  • Works with mobile 
  • Integrates into the settings gear on Twitch
  • Variety of presets
  • Font and color options

Cons:

  • Can only be used with OBS studio, not compatible with Streamlabs OBS or XSplit

Webcaptioner – [Twitch Setup] [YouTube Setup]

Webcaptioneer Screenshot

Pros:

  • It can be used to create an open captioning experience for your stream
  • Change into over 40 different languages
  • Customizable fonts, colors and 
  • Create a word blocklist
  • Save a copy of the transcript

Cons:

  • Only available on Google Chrome

Text Readers

Many broadcasters use text-to-speech readers for chat. It is a great way to make your stream more accessible to those who may only be able to hear your stream. It has many applications: those who are far away from their screen with chat, people who play VR, people who are blind and need it to read out chat. It’s also fun for chat, if you can trust your chat not to be too unruly. There are ways to have it so only you can hear the chat being read. You’ll have to look over your audio settings to determine the best way to do this if this is what you want to do.

Speech Chat

SpeechChat Screenshot

Pros:

  • No software to download, web-based. Need access to Google Drive
  • Start and pause TTS
  • Keyword filter that mutes TTS
  • Connects to Twitch and Youtube

Cons:

  • English only

Twitch Reader

Twitch Reader Screenshot

Pros:

  • No software to download, web-based 
  • States it has voices in a few other languages
  • Subscriber-only mode for TTS
  • Demo and alternative demo modes which read out a portion of non-sub message

Cons

  • Only wants to read out English, even when toggling to the other language options

Identifiers

Pronouns – Created by Alejop_47

Twitch Chat Pronouns Screenshot

Most of us are looking for people we identify with in some way. We want to know that there are other people who share experiences with us, and it’s just nice to have something in common from the start. It is also nice to be able to declare who we are wherever we go.

Other Ways to Make Your Stream More Accessible

Here’s a list of ideas you may want to employ to make your stream more accessible:

  • Consider using more plain language. This will allow your content to be more accessible to a larger audience.
  • Turn on captions on games and videos while you are streaming.
  • Use colorblind settings in games to make it easier for folks who are colorblind to watch gameplay.
  • Avoid games and videos that use flashing or strobing animations. Otherwise, consider adding a warning in your title.
  • Use ALT text on social media for images. This allows people who can’t see the images you are posting to know what they are about. This has also been shown to improve SEO.
  • Reads out text while you are streaming. This fills up space in your chat and allows more people to remain engaged with your content.
  • Make sure your audio is clear. This is just a good practice to have and makes you seem more professional. 
  • Think about the colors you use throughout social media. If you have the control to change them, consider making them colorblind-friendly and stick with more neutral colors.

Hopefully, this information is helpful to you and gets you thinking about ways you can make your stream more accessible to more people. 

For those interested in learning more about this topic, here are some sites worth checking out. 

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