D2. Difficulty locating a specific word, phrase, or related term

Situation Definition:

A situation that arises from difficulty finding a word, phrase, or related term within the text content of a DL.

Factor(s) Leading to the Situation:

    • Inadequate indication:

    • Lack of features/functions/items/information:

Guideline or Design Recommendation:

    1. Enable text searching within the captioning or transcript of a video item
    2. Support text search for keywords within an item
    3. Provide instructions on how to perform text search (e.g., a specific word, phrase, and related term) within a DL
    4. Ensure the output of text search is accessible

Rationale and Objective:


users cannot quickly skim the content of a page, BVI users often use the designated screen reader Find function, which is the same as “Ctrl+F” for sighted users (1). Exact matching for a specific word can be extended to recommended related words or suggested spelling revisions. Search tools that use highlighting or bolding of found terms are not necessarily useful for BVI users because they may not be recognized by screen reader software. Instead, other types of non-visual indicators are needed. Sometimes pages have metadata or keywords that are not displayed on the screen but cause a page to appear in the “search” results. When a user performs a “find” on the page, nothing is found. This can be very confusing and frustrating. Audio tracks of audio and video items are difficult or impossible to search, so having the ability to search the caption of an audio or video item is helpful (2).

Techniques and Methods:

1.1. Provide the


of a video item as a separate searchable document (e.g., PDF)
2.1. Provide “In-text Search” feature for finding keywords within an item
3.1. Provide search tips and instruction on how to perform a text search
4.1. Use heading tags to highlight the results of text search

Recommended Features:



as searchable document (See example 1.1)
2.1/4.1. In-text search with heading tags (See example 2.1/4.1)
3.1. Search tips and instruction (See example 3.1)


1.1. Caption/transcript as a searchable document: Good design

YouTube provides a separate transcript next to the video.

YouTube interface with a video on the left and a written transcript on the right with lines broken down by seconds. Transcript reads "Think of a library and what comes to mind. Maybe the one in your hometown where you grew up pulling index cards from a filing cabinet, using the Dewy Decimal System to find your dusty books. Libraries have changed to keep..."

2.1/4.1. In-text search with heading tag: How-to design

Provide an In-text search within an item. Also, a heading tag is added for the inputted term so that the searched term is highlighted in the display.

Heading added for the highlighted transcript text. The search term "film" is highlighted every time it appears in the text.

3.1. Search tips: Good design

HathiTrust provides search tips in the search section, and a user learns how to use text search.

HathiTrust search bar with Search tips option positioned under search bar next to Advanced catalog search

HathiTrust search tips organized into the topical sections "Primary Catalog Search", "Full-text Search", and "Full-text Advanced Search"

Related Resources:

    1. Xie, I., Babu, R., Joo, S., & Fuller, P. (2015). Using digital libraries non-visually: Understanding the help-seeking situations of blind users. Information Research: An International Electronic Journal, 20(2), paper 673. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/20-2/paper673.html
    2. Wish You Could Search Within a Video? Use an Interactive Transcript!. Retrieved from https://www.3playmedia.com/2018/10/10/search-interactive-transcript/
    3. W3C. (2018). WCAG 2.1 Guideline 3.1 Readable. Retrieved from https://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG21/Understanding/readable
    4. W3C. (2018). WCAG 2.1 Guideline 3.3 Input Assistance. Retrieved from https://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG21/Understanding/input-assistance
    5. YouTube Subtitles Search. Retrieved from https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/youtube-captions-search/kimbeggjgnmckoikpckibeoaocafcpbg?hl=en

See Also:

Help-seeking Situations > D. Difficulty locating specific information, items, or features