About: Audio description (AD) offers a richer and more detailed understanding, experience and enjoyment of, for example, films for blind and visually impaired audiences. The task of the sighted audio describer is to select relevant visual information from i.e. a film scene (events, environments, objects, people, their appearance, clothing, facial expressions, gestures and body movements) and express this information aurally, by using vivid descriptions. These verbal descriptions of visual content activate internal images of the blind audiences and enhance their meaning-making process. However, there is still little knowledge about how the scene content should be described so that the end users get involved and empathize with the story.
   In the process of AD, the audio describer faces the challenges of choosing what to describe, how to describe it and when to describe it, in ways that meet the needs of the end users. We investigate both production and reception of AD in the framework of theories on relevance, multimodality, mental imagery and embodied cognition.

Contact: Jana Holsanova

Current project:

How the Blind Audience Receive and Experience Audio Descriptions of Visual Events

Project members: Jana Holsanova, Roger Johansson and Viveka Lyberg Åhlander
Financed by FORTE (Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare)

Project period: 2019-2021

Keywords: audio description; cognition; communication; visual, spatial and temporal properties of events; voice quality; understanding and enjoyment of film; sighted and blind audiences

About the project: The theoretical aim of the project is to gain a better understanding of the principles that underlie successful communication between the sighted and the blind via audio description (AD). The aim of a series of experiments is to identify similarities and differences in how the sighted and the blind understand, segment and experience visual, spatial as well as temporal properties of an event. The project also includes workshops with researchers, practitioners of AD, interest organisations and blind users of AD. The applied goal is to increase the quality of AD and to support the training of audio describers and AD practices, and ultimately facilitate the understanding and accessibility of visual information for the visually impaired.