Last Update: May 28, 2020 8:50 am

Zoom > Accessible Zoom Meetings

Accessible Zoom Meetings

When using online tools for remote work, it is important not only to use tools with an accessible interface but also to know how to use them so people with disabilities can participate.

This page offers some tips for using Zoom so that your remote online experiences are accessible. Information and resources will be added as we gain more information.

Fortunately, Zoom provides a pretty accessible interface and provides information about accessibility, including how to create closed captions.

General presentation etiquette

  • Prepare in advance for an accessible session. Find a quiet site so there's no background noise. Have presenters look at the camera so people can see facial expressions and/or read lips.
  • Provide accessible materials. Slides presented in Zoom are not accessible to screen readers, so try to send materials in advance or post them somewhere to make them available. Make sure those materials (PPT or a document) are accessible.
  • Describe what's going on in the meeting. Describe charts and graphics, announce who's speaking. Remember, not everyone may be able to see what's going on.
  • Be accommodating. Let participants know they can request accommodations if necessary. If you're using features that may not be accessible, like whiteboarding, plan how you'll describe/provide the information to participants who need it. Maybe you'll find an additional accessible tool to provide that feature.
  • Inform the audience. Inform the audience if the meeting is being recorded and/or captioned. For recordings, see the note under Chat. For captioning, mention that it's important to speak clearly and not talk over others.

Live captioning of Zoom meetings

For live captioning DURING a Zoom meeting, we recommend Otter.ai.

When running Zoom with an Otter.ai account, a live transcript will be automatically generated in real-time. The meeting audio will also be automatically recorded. Instructors have the option to have TAs highlight and/or embed images in the live transcript as the class is underway. Instructors may also correct/clean up the automatically generated transcriptions and export their completed transcripts to provide them to their students.

Request an Otter account

Please complete the account request form if you need an Otter account for course-related live transcription integrated with UCI Zoom.

After submitting a request, please wait for a follow-up message via email to confirm whether or not your account has been approved. UCI has a limited number of accounts and your request will be reviewed as quickly as possible.

Captioning and transcripts for recorded Zoom meetings

Be sure to inform the audience before the Zoom and at the beginning of the Zoom that you will be recording the meeting.  You can use this script:

“This [class meeting/discussion group/etc.] is being conducted over Zoom.  As the instructor, I will be recording this session.  I have disabled the recording feature for others so that no one else will be able to record this session.  I will be posting this session on the course’s website at [LMS/Canvas location].  If you have privacy concerns and do not wish to appear in the recording, you may turn your video off (click “stop video”) so that Zoom does not record you.  If, when you disable live video, you also want to use a profile image (other than a picture of you) instead of your name, please let me know which image you will be using so that I know who you are during the session.  If you would like to ask a question, you may do so privately through the Zoom chat by addressing your chat question to me only (and not to “everyone”), or you may contact me by another private method.  If you have questions or concerns about this, please contact me.”

All Zoom recordings saved to the Zoom cloud are auto-captioned using Zoom (powered by Otter) captions.

Alternatively, you can record your Zoom meeting to your local machine and upload it into Yuja – the lecture-capture service – and have Yuja auto-caption it (we automatically auto-caption everything uploaded to Yuja)

If you have Otter transcriptions integrated into your Zoom (see above), they will be automatically saved to your Otter account as a separate file - not part of the Zoom recording. If you want to keep only that transcript and not the recording, you can save it as a pdf file (or other formats) and delete the Zoom recording. You can also upload the Otter transcription file to your Zoom or Yuja recording if you prefer its accuracy (replacing the auto-captions provided by Zoom or Yuja)

Tips for meetings with screen reader users

  • Meeting invitations: When creating a meeting invitation, put the URL on a blank link without any other text or characters around it. This enables the screen reader user to just hit enter to access it, rather than also having to tab over the text. Do not put the URL in the location line because it does not appear as a live hyperlink; put it in the subject line or the body of the email.
  • Participant list: Screen reader users can access the participant list, though it's cumbersome for them. Be sure to read the participant names out loud at the start of the meeting.
  • Participation: Suggest people use “raise hand” so that everyone can have a chance to speak and make sure they know the keyboard shortcuts: Alt Y (command Y) for raise hand, and Alt A (command A) for muting yourself.
  • Screen shares and whiteboarding: These features are inaccessible. The content should be described out loud whenever used.
  • Chat: Chat is disruptive for screen reader users because when they turn on speech mode, it is read out loud over other talk and hinders them from following the rest of the meeting. Use the chat for important things, to avoid excluding the screen reader user. Be sure to record the meeting, which provides an archive of the chat as a text file. This ensures the screen reader user can later access links and other information shared in chat. If you plan to record the meeting, you must advise the participants of this and take steps to ensure their privacy, including disabling the feature that allows others to record the meeting too. A draft script appears below, which you can also include in the meeting invitation: This meeting/session will be recorded [and posted online]. [I have disabled the recording feature for others so no one else will be able to record the session.] If you have privacy concerns and do not wish to appear in the recording, you may turn off or "stop video" now. If you disable live video, you may use a profile image rather than your name or photograph. Let the organizer know what image you will be using so they can recognize you. If you would like to ask a question privately, you may do so via chat to the organizer's name and not to "everyone."
  • Control another computer. If a screen reader user is sharing their screen and encounters problems, they can allow another meeting participant to control their computer and fix the problem. (The screen reader user will hear all actions the person is taking.) To do this, the other participant can Request Control, or the screen reader user can go to the More menu, click Enable Remote Control, and then select the other participant's name and hit enter. That person will accept control. Later under Zoom meeting controls and View Options, the other person can give up the remote control.

Recent Zoom Updates

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May 29, 2020

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) is offering a new UCI Zoom Temporary License Upgrade service to faculty and staff who wish to host a presentation-style webinar for up to 1,000 participants, a moderated discussion, or a collaborative meeting with up to 500 participants. Continue Reading UCI Zoom Webinar & Large Meeting licenses now available for short-term use

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April 30, 2020

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April 21, 2020

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April 2, 2020

We have learned that security vulnerabilities exist in Zoom.  Zoom has created a patch which corrects these vulnerabilities and will continue to monitor the security landscape. It is very important that you are running the latest version of Zoom which includes these patches. Please follow Zoom’s instructions at: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362233-Where-Do-I-Download-The-Latest-Version- to update Zoom. If you are not able to… Continue Reading Important Information About Zoom Security

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