This is the importance of audio description in a video

8 March 2023  
An animation of two arms holding puzzle pieces

Audio description (AD) makes a video accessible to people with a visual impairment by means of a visual description. People who need auditory support are also helped with this. A voice describes in a clear way what can be seen during moments when there is room for it. But why is this actually so important?

Viewers without a visual impairment can see what a video conveys with its visual information. But if you are blind or visually impaired, much of that information will be lost. That way it is difficult to (continue to) follow videos properly. An audio description is intended to convey the story or message of a video and make it understandable, even without seeing images.

Usually, someone with a visual impairment can easily follow what is being said in a video. But of course there are all kinds of things to see in such a video. Blind or partially sighted people don't know this if no one tells them. And a picture says more than a thousand words.

Images can be essential to follow a story. As a viewer of a video you want to know what is happening and what can be seen. Audio description is the outcome here. A voice describes the most important things that can be seen on screen at that moment. Of course, the audio description cannot describe all the details. But the viewer needs to be able to follow the story, so the most important thing about audio description is to get the intention of what's on screen. Think of a description of speakers or players, actions, body language, facial expressions and time or place determinations; all the visual elements that tell the story along with the sounds. The more space there is for audio description, the more extensive it can be.

Audio description therefore describes what can be seen in a video. You speak to the imagination with this. It is a matter of puzzling with words; as a writer, you decide what visual information to convey to the audience. The most important thing to remember when adding audio description is this: if the story is clear to the viewer through your additions, then the audio description is successful. In this way, a video becomes accessible to everyone, and that is the main goal.

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