Mainstreaming audio description through technology
Title of edited book
Innovation in audio description research
Year of publication
In order to render a film more accessible for persons with vision loss it is necessary to provide audio description (AD) and, in the case of films with foreign-language dialogues that are not rendered through dubbing or voice-over (VO), also audio subtitles (AST). Yet accessibility does not end when these additional soundtracks are produced. It is also necessary to make them available to the target audience, and this is where technology comes into play. New technologies have the potential to make access services such as AD and AST more readily available to their users. This article presents results of a usability study for the AudioMovie app – a mobile application that facilitates playback of additional soundtracks (e.g., AD and AST) in synchronisation with films screened at cinemas. A mixed-method approach was used for the study, combining a questionnaire with focus group interviews. Results of the study show that the AudioMovie app was well received by the audience with vision loss, even though some improvements are required. However, the most important conclusion of this study is that creators of accessible technologies need to be very careful, because in the era of digital divide, mainstreaming accessibility through information and communication technology (ICT) can cause re-exclusion.