Best Practices for Creating Accessible Video for Blind and Low-Vision Viewers

May 12, 2017 BY ELISA LEWIS
Updated: June 3, 2019

When recording video content – whether it be a lecture in front of a large audience, a small presentation in a meeting, or a movie trailer – there are several best practices to make adding audio description easier, or even alleviate the need for audio description altogether. In order to make content accessible to blind and low-vision viewers, it is critical to relay all displayed text and visual components verbally, leave ample room between dialogue for adding description, and describe audience participation.

Cover All Displayed Visual Information

When recording video it is best practice to verbalize all relevant visual information. Verbally describing all of the visual content makes it accessible to those who are blind or low-vision. Remember that you only need to explain the visuals to the extent necessary for a blind or low-vision viewer to understand. For example, explaining pertinent parts of images and graphs and relaying any information given through on-screen text. However, you don’t need to describe images which are meant to be decorative. Although you don’t want to read directly from presentation slides or a movie script, you want to be able to describe the content orally in order to convey the necessary information contained within the visual. One recommendation is to imagine your video was being aired on the radio and see if it would make sense and be fully understandable.

Leave Ample Space for Audio Description Between Dialogue or Speech

Pausing frequently throughout your video content is vital for helping people better comprehend your content. Taking these pauses leaves room for audio description to be added within the timeframe of the original content if necessary. Additionally, in the case of educational content, these short breaks make it much easier to take complete notes and better digest the information. Leaving room for description is especially important if there is visual content in your video that you are not able to include in the original audio source. This allows a describer to go in and add concise descriptions of the visual content where space allows so that a blind or low-vision viewer can have as close to the same experience as a seeing individual as possible.

Identify the Speaker

When striving to make video content accessible to blind and low-vision individuals, it helps to have one person speak at a time. It’s also important to identify the speaker so that listeners will know who is speaking. In order to help blind or low-vision viewers gain a better understanding of context, vary the tone and level of your voice and the pace of your delivery.

Describe Audience Participation

If there is audience participation be sure to describe that verbally as well, in order for the audience to understand who is speaking when. If there are questions or examples that include visual cues, you must describe those aloud. For instance, if you ask the audience to raise their hand, it should be described like this – Speaker: Raise your hand if you add captions and audio description to your online videos. Then he/she must relay the findings to the audience as well by stating: about a third of the audience members raised their hand.


When creating content it’s important to keep all potential audiences in mind, and take steps to make it accessible to everyone. Click below to learn more about our audio description services or get started today!


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