Request Audio Descriptions

What are Audio Descriptions?

When it comes to video accessibility, most people think of "closed captions," a synchronized text representation of the audio part of a video. When they are turned on, they make the audio part of the video more accessible to people with limited hearing or those who cannot hear at all.  

In the same way that closed captions make the audio portion of a video accessible to a person with limited hearing, Descriptive Audio is an audio narration that describes the visual action in a video. When it is turned on, it makes certain visual details in a video more accessible to a person with limited vision. Below is a sample. To hear the audio descriptions, after you click the play button, you may need to click the "Select Audio" feature, and then "Eng-Audio Description". This will look like a music note if you are viewing on a computer and a globe if you are viewing on a phone.  

Take Note! The audio descriptions tend to focus on what is happening and not so much on the details on the screen. Think of them as being there to describe action, not to describe every detail on the screen. This means that any instructions you have for the student (where to click, what to choose, or what you're using in your experiment) you will still need to describe. What audio descriptions can help with is:

  • What is happening: actions and reactions
  • What people are doing in a scene, demonstration, or recital
  • What is being drawn or what color it is

For this reason, while every video that has audio in it should be captioned, not every video needs to have a descriptive audio track added. The following are the criteria for when a video should have a descriptive audio track:

  • Probably Not Needed:
    “Talking head” or lecture videos (even with a PowerPoint presentation) likely do not need a descriptive audio option.

    Possibly Needed:
    However, a descriptive audio narration may be helpful for a video demonstrating a process or an experiment, a dance or someone drawing a picture or a graph.

  • Probably Not Needed:
    Even in a demonstration video, if the audio already adequately describes what is happening (what is being used, what is being clicked, what is the result, etc.), then the video likely does not need a descriptive audio option.

    Possibly Needed:
    However, if the same video contains large amounts of action or reaction that is not described, then descriptive audio narration may be helpful.

  • Probably Not Needed:
    Longer videos containing primarily dialogue or monologue, even if occasionally having a visual component (a diagram drawn on the board or a demonstration or experiment) likely do not need a descriptive audio option.

    Possibly Needed:
    If, however, small parts of that video could use descriptive audio, the best option would be to break the video up, separating the small portion needing the descriptive audio into its own video before adding descriptive audio.

  • In this case, adding descriptive audio to your video is the best option. However, you may want to consider whether the whole video needs descriptive audio or just a portion. If it is a portion, you may want to break the video down into multiple, shorter videos.

Audio Descriptions Request Form

The button below takes you to the request form where you can request audio descriptions for your videos in MediaSpace.  You will be prompted to log in using your KSU credentials.

If you have questions about whether you should request Audio Descriptions, feel free to contact the AWA team for more information.

Take Me to the audio descriptions request form