Audio Description

Often, students can’t get all the information they need from a video’s soundtrack alone. Audio description fills in the gaps for students who can’t see the video.

Why Audio Description Matters

Students who can’t see your videos can’t learn from your videos–unless you make sure they can get the information they need through audio description.

What is Audio Description?

A video with audio description has additional narration that describes what’s happening in the video. Sometimes the narration is on a separate audio track that can be turned on or off. Sometimes the description is part of the main audio track. When it can’t be turned off, it’s audio description is usually provided in an alternative version of the video. The following trailer contains audio description.

Audio Description Resources

Audio description is sometimes called video description, descriptive video, or just description. Writing description that both paints the picture and fits comfortably into spaces between the video’s existing dialog can challenge your writing skills. The following resources offer guidance on what to include in your audio description, and how.

Resource Description
Description Key Guidelines for good audio description published by the captioned media program administered by the National Association of the Deaf, funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs.
508 Accessible Videos–How to Make Audio Descriptions This concise overview of audio descriptions is published by the Office of Products and Programs in the Technology Transformation Service of the U.S. General Services Administration. It’s good for a quick introduction, but the Description Key above has more detailed information.
Described and Captioned Media Program This site provides a wealth of articles on description. It’s funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the National Association of the Deaf.
The Audio Description Project An initiative of the American Council of the Blind, this site is mostly for audio description users. But it does have some good information for description creators, especially on the “All About Audio Description” page. This includes the Word document titled “Guidelines for Audio Description,” for example.