Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2022 – Audio Description

May 19, 2022

Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)!

The purpose of Global Accessibility Awareness Day is to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital access and inclusion, and the more than one billion people living with disabilities.

This year at Guide Dogs we’re highlighting the importance of Audio Description”(AD). SBS provides a great definition of Audio Description, defining it as “the auditory narration of the non-verbal elements of a program. During gaps in dialogue, it describes visual elements such as scenes, settings, actions and costumes. It is particularly beneficial to people who are blind and vision-impaired.”


Audio Description is an essential part of the work we do at Guide Dogs. We pair audio descriptions with captions across all our video content to ensure that it’s accessible and inclusive for all. We have the privilege of working with one of our Clients, Alistair, who is also a professional voice over artist! Check out some of Alistair’s voice over work on our latest campaign for International Guide Dogs Day.

There is a great amount of skill and considerations involved in Audio Description, including choosing which elements to describe, how to time AD and remaining objective when writing AD. There are also many types of Audio Description including Informal, Standard and Extended AD which you can learn more about in the video below.

Some tips for AD

Get started on Audio Description for your next video by following these simple steps!

Plan it out

The secret to great AD is incorporating it into your video from the beginning. Plan your visuals, script and Audio Description at the same time. When storyboarding, consider which visuals are key and need AD. You can also use the script to reinforce visuals, for example:

[Actor 1]: Wow look at that dog! He’s got an extremely fluffy white coat!

[Actor 2]: Yeah he looks a bit like a snowball, but with floppy ears!

TIP: when you’re conducting video interviews, ask your participants to describe their location, for example: “Hi I’m Michelle and I’m sitting here with a nine-week old yellow Labrador Puppy, coming to you from my backyard.”

Build it

These considerations are key during the filming and editing phase. Film scenes with enough room to narrate visuals, and it doesn’t hurt to film extra footage so you have space to add AD later. Change the volume levels to assist with audio comprehension when editing the video.

TIP: use a new actor for AD to help differentiate between voice-over and other voices in the video.

Test it

This is probably the most important steps and involves final checks to ensure your video is inclusive and accessible. Play the video without the visuals to ensure the AD makes sense.

TIP: Get two people to review the video – ensuring one person has context of what the video is about and the other doesn’t. it always helps to get ask people with lived experience to review your video as well.

Got any questions? Contact us for more information and tips about Audio Description.


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