Voicethread Universal Design

VoiceThread is now more accessible than ever

VoiceThread is an easy way to create everything from student presentations to course lectures….

Universal View

This view is readable by computerized screen readers used by those with sight issues. This view is also navigable using only the keyboard (no mouse needed) so it’s more accessible to those with physical issues. The Universal View is also perfect for faculty who want to capture a snapshot of all the text comments for a slide in VoiceThread.

comparison of standard view and universal view


VoiceThread now also allows for captions of not only the videos you upload but your audio and video comments as well.  As with all media players that allow captioning VoiceThread can DISPLAY a closed captions file but it cannot CREATE a closed captioned file.  That has to be done using a third party app such as Movie Captioner (site license owned by CofC) or YouTube.

Captioning Comments:

You can caption both audio and video (webcam) comments.

Step 1:  Create the caption file and save it to your computer as one of the following: .DFXP, .SRT, .SAMI, .SCC, .SBV

Step 2:  Start playing the comment.

Step 3:  Click on the CC button at the bottom of the comment, next to the trash icon.

Step 4:  Select the caption file you created earlier.

Step 5:  Click OK.

Captioning Video:

You can also caption the video that you upload or record into the main VoiceThread content window.

Step 1:  Create the caption file and save it to your computer as one of the following: .DFXP, .SRT, .SAMI, .SCC, .SBV

Step 2:  Navigate to the slide that contains the video.

Step 3:  Hover your mouse over the video icon on the left side of the page.

Step 4:  Click on the CC button in the top-right corner of the VoiceThread window.

Step 5:  Click “Add captions”.

Step 6:  Select your caption file.

Step 7:  Click “OK”.


VoiceThread is continuing in their efforts toward universal accessibility however the roadblock remains the creation of the caption file.  Check back in the next few weeks as we hope to have a tutorial on the easiest way to create captions for VoiceThread comments and content.



4 thoughts on “VoiceThread is now more accessible than ever”

  1. Hello. Thank you for writing this blog post. I look forward to your update about how to create a caption file. I’m trying a few workflows and not having much success at the moment. An additional roadblock to be aware of is that all captions on a VoiceThread get removed when that VoiceThread is copied. This is an issue VoiceThread is aware of.

  2. Thanks for that tip Michelle. I didn’t realize that they were removed upon copying. I’m hoping to get to the caption testing next week. I’d love to hear about the workflows you have tried.

    1. After realizing my usual captioning process that I use for the central media (video) files in a will not work for comments (upload the video to YouTube, modify the auto caption file, download the caption file to VT), I am trying Aegisub. It is a free application for PC and Mac. I was able to generate an SRT file, but VT would not recognize it. Then I uploaded the .ass file (created by Aegisub) into this conversion tool: http://subtitleconverter.net. I chose to convert the .ass file into an .srt file. This file uploaded into VT, producing a captioned voice comment. I was excited, but soon realized the timing was very off. So, I re-opened Aegisub, made some tweaks to the timing, and proceeded with the same steps above (save .ass file, upload .ass file into subtitleconverter.net, and convert to .srt). This time, however, VoiceThread produces an error with the .srt file. I cannot resolve this and have contacted VoiceThread for help. Let’s keep this exchange open. Feel free to email me or find me on Twitter @brocansky.

      1. Well Michelle, I found a way to do it but I’m not in love with the method. Here’s my workflow:

        1) I did not record my comment directly into Voicethread. Instead I recorded it in Audacity and exported it as an .mp3.

        2) I added the .mp3 comment into Aegisub and used that to record the captions using it’s 2 second playback increment.

        3) I exported the caption file from Aegisub
        a) FILE > EXPORT AS
        b) no filters checked
        c) text encoding: WESTERN (ISO-8859-1)
        d) EXPORT
        e) File Type: SUBRIP (*.SRT)
        f) SAVE

        4) Open Voicethread and go to the Voicethread in question

        5) Click COMMENT and go to the proper slide

        6) Under the + icon choose UPLOAD and upload the .mp3 file

        7) Once uploaded click on the comment from the left and click CC then upload the .srt

        It worked well for me. Here’s the example: https://voicethread.com/new/share/6914191/

        Here’s the problem: This only works if you have the pro version that allows you to upload an external voice/video comments. Also, recording your audio and video in another application kind of defeats the purpose of using an easy to use program like Voicethread.

        The alternative is to find an easy-to-use program that allows you to create captions without loading the media but i’m not sure that’s possible. Loading the media is what allows you to do the repetitive playback of a small section of media that makes it possible to caption it easily.

        What are your thoughts?

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