Extended Audio Description (Prerecorded)
Success Criterion 1.2.7 Level AAA

If the video content doesn’t contain adequate pauses that allow for a secondary audio track (“audio description”), are you editing the video to create or extend pauses to describe on-screen visuals?

Why is this Important?

People with visual impairments are unable to see the images in a video. They can miss important information or context-setting clues because they are only able to listen to the accompanying audio.

A common solution is to add audio descriptions of what is happening on screen during naturally occurring audio pauses. But in some cases there are not enough natural pauses in the audio for these descriptions to be added. In this situation, creating additional pauses where audio descriptions can be played without interrupting the primary audio track is needed for the user to understand the content in its entirety.

Whom does it benefit?

Example 1:

As a person who is blind,
I want an audio description of what is happening on the screen in a video
so that I can fully understand the content.

Example 2:

As a person with low vision,
I want the option to listen to the audio description of labels used in graphs or charts being presented in a video
so that I can understand data as it is presented.

Example 3:

As a person with a cognitive disability,
I want the option to hear an audio description of complicated visuals on the screen
so that I can have an additional way to process information that I might not fully comprehend just by watching the video.

What should you do?

For video content that contains both audio and visual components, include a second audio track (“audio description”) that describes what is happening visually on the screen during breaks in the primary audio track. If the video’s primary audio track doesn’t have long enough pauses to include a second audio track without causing audio overlap between the two tracks, pauses need to be created to accommodate the audio descriptions.

Users should have the option to turn audio description on or off. Alternatively, two versions of a video can be made available, one with extended pauses and an audio description track, and one without.

How do you do it?

Providing an Extended Audio Description:

Providing an extended audio description may be necessary when the original media file does not have enough pauses or breaks in the primary audio track to add an additional audio description track. The original media file will need to be altered. Additional time will need to be inserted throughout the file to provide enough time to add an audio description describing what is happening visually in the media. See bullets below for key points on providing an audio description.

  • Additional time can be added before, during, or after the original media file to accommodate for the audio description content.
  • Add an additional narration soundtrack (an extended audio description) that describes important visual details that cannot be understood from the main soundtrack alone.
  • The extended audio description should provide information about actions, characters, scene changes, on-screen text, and other important visual content.
  • If all video information is included in existing audio, no additional audio description is necessary.

Need technical guidance?

Additional resources to help you: