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For multimedia presentations to be accessible to people who are unable to see critical information that is presented visually, this content must be verbally described (a process called audio description).
The ability to describe video is a trained skill. The words that are chosen to describe a video and the way in which those words are spoken can have an impact on the message the video is communicating. Companies who provide audio description services typically hire script writers to write the descriptions and professional voice-over talent to read them.
Despite the difficulty in locating specially trained talent, however, all major web accessibility standards and guidelines require audio description, so educational entities are encouraged to find a way to implement it.
Fortunately, the technical aspect of adding an audio description track is not difficult. For web-based multimedia, the National Center on Accessible Media has developed a free software tool called MAGpie, which simplifies the process of adding both captions and audio descriptions.
The following AccessIT Knowledge Base articles may also be of interest:
For additional information, contact your region's ADA & IT Center at 1-800-949-4232.