How To Caption Your Instagram Stories To Make Them More Accessible

Ashley Batz/Bustle

If you follow Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on social media, you might be wondering how AOC captions her Instagram stories. The congresswoman has become renowned for her Instagram stories since she was elected to office, giving her constituents a more transparent view of the goings-on in Congress (and in her urban garden). But you might have noticed that she’s upped her Instagram game by adding captions to her Instagram stories late last year, according to Slate. The reason why? AOC tweeted back in November of 2018, “Advocates for the deaf community hit me up to connect me with tools (i.e. Clipomatic) to better serve all of us. Thanks to them, I now caption all my IG stories so our deaf brothers and sisters can follow along, too.” If you’re looking to make your social posts more accessible, here’s how you can caption your Instagram stories, too.

Around one in eight people in the United States have some form of hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. That means when you post a video without captions or subtitles, your message isn’t accessible to everyone. But in some of Ocasio-Cortez’s latest videos, white captions appear across a pink bar, Slate reports, making it so users can read while she talks. Ocasio-Cortez says she’s using a mobile app called Clipomatic to create her captions.

Clipomatic lets you create captions while you record your video, and you can manually edit your captions if the speech recognition gets them wrong, according to Mashable. You can also create captions in 40 different languages in different filters and styles, says Mashable. That’s how AOC is getting her cute pink and white captions. The downside is that Clipomatic is $4.99 and is only available on iPhone. But Clipomatic isn’t your only option. According to Meryl Evans, digital marketing professional, you can also try free apps like Apple Clips, which lets you create animated captions and titles, or AutoCap for Android, which automatically creates captions and subtitles for you.

“The most important thing about good captions is readability. If they're not readable, people won't get what you're saying,” Evans tells Bustle. “Accuracy is also important. [Apple] Clips has the tendency to stop captioning in the middle of the video. That's as frustrating as no captions because you've been teased into watching part of it, and then [the captions are] gone. And [the captions need to be] synchronized with the audio. It's frustrating when the captions get behind or ahead of what's actually being said.”

But video captions aren’t just helpful to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Captions can also help non-native English speakers, or even just help people understand you more clearly. And more than 80 percent of videos on Facebook are watched without any sound, according to Access Innovation Media. So adding captions to your videos can help people enjoy your content no matter where they are, whether it’s the waiting room of a doctor’s office, a busy train, or the line at the bank — without bothering the people around them with the audio cranked up.

These days, it’s no longer a question of whether you should be adding captions to your videos. Captions help pretty much everyone, and there are so many tools out there to help you add captions to your videos no matter what social platform you’re using.