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Audio description of video recordings

People with impaired vision may need audio description to access the content of a video recording.

How to make your film accessible to the visually impaired

  • Plan your film so that an audio description is not needed.
  • Ensure that important visual information is also made clear by audio.
  • Follow guidelines for audio description.
  • Adapt the audio description to the rhythm of the regular content.
  • Make it easy to find and activate audio descriptions.

Interpret important visual information

Those who cannot partake of the visual content of video recordings, for example due to visual impairment, should be able to obtain the corresponding information either 

  • in the form of an audio description or 

  • presented as text, so that it can be read aloud by screen readers. 

What is "essential visual information" depends primarily on the purpose of the film but also the needs of the target audience. Start with what is necessary to understand the plot or message of the film, but it may also be essential to convey a mood, for example.

Describe the visual when it is optimal for the user to receive the information. This is often, but not always, at approximately the moment that what is described is visible.

Remember that audio descriptions must not clash with lines or important information-carrying sounds. This will make both difficult to understand.

If there is a separate audio-described version, it is important to provide information about this in connection with any non-audio-described version. Preferably, the information should be placed before the video so that the user does not listen to the whole film and only afterwards discover a more accessible alternative.

The law requires: audio description of video recordings (Webbriktlinjer, in Swedish)

Plan for accessibility

Consider accessibility for people with visual impairments already at the planning stage. Sometimes, it is possible to plan a recording so that a separate audio-described version is unnecessary. It may be enough for speakers to introduce themselves or for lecturers to describe any presentation slides in words.