The Wonderful World of Audio Description in 2022: Getting Started, Discovering What is Out There, Enjoying the Process and the Product

Tuesday, January 25, 2022
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM Eastern Time Zone


Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to make their information and communication technology (ICT) accessible to people with disabilities. Planning for accessibility needs to be a part of the development and lifecycle plan of any ICT project, including video and multimedia projects. These types of projects can be accessible by providing audio description, or sometimes referred to as video description, which is used by persons who are blind or have low vision. Presenters will review different types of accessible media, the basics of audio description, considerations in planning procurement and development of accessible video and multimedia, and best practices in providing audio description into media. Presenters will also address agency successes, challenges, and limitations in the contracting process and implementation of audio description. Questions can be submitted in advance of the session or can be posed during the live webinar. Webinar attendees can receive a participation certificate.

Registration closes 24 hours before the start of the session. Instructions for accessing the webinar on the day of the session will be sent via email to registered individuals in advance of the session. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) and Video Sign Language Interpreters are available for each session and will be broadcast via the webinar platform. A telephone option (not toll-free) for receiving audio is also available.

The Section 508 Best Practices Webinar Series provides helpful information and best practices for federal agencies in meeting their obligations under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act which ensures access to information and communication technology in the federal sector. This webinar series is made available by the Accessibility Community of Practice of the CIO Council in partnership with the U.S. Access Board.

Continuing Education Recognition Available

Certificate Credit hours
Certificate of Attendance 1.5


Michele Hartley, Media Accessibility Coordinator, Harpers Ferry Center, National Park Service

Gary Morin, Program Analyst, NIH Office of the Chief Information Officer

Patrick Sheehan, Chief, Section 508 Office, Section 508 Program Manager, Department of Veterans' Affairs

Joel Snyder, President, Audio Description Associates, LLC (USA), Director of Audio Description Project, American Council of the Blind

Questions for presenters:

1 The note in Understanding WCAG 1.2.5 that says audio descriptions are not required if the default audio track already contains all important information needs more explanation. For example, is all text shown important? How much should the "intent" of the video be taken into account? For example, if I show/describe how to use part of a system in a video, do I always have to describe the rest of the system that is visible? Another example, if a static chart in a video shows several data sets, but I only want to talk about one, do I have to describe them all?
2 What rights do we have or what can we do when audio descriptions are missing and our requests for audio descriptions are denied or ignored?
3 Are there actual minimum standards for audio descriptions? or just best practices guidance but not required?
4 The description mentions that Section 508 applies to federal agencies. Does 508 also apply to state agencies and local/city agencies? If not, what ADA requirements are in place for non-federal government agencies?
5 Do you anticipate increased use of AI for audio description in the coming years, either to help describers find spaces to describe, or to utilize text to speech?
6 Are transcripts a useful alternative to audio description in some cases?
7 Can you share any language that we can add to a contract to require audio descriptions for video and multimedia projects?
8 When planning the development of a video and multimedia project, how much time (or percentage of development time) should I allow to create an audio description?
9 In a previous training I was advised that deliverables that are "one time use" like a progress report, do not need to be 508 compliant. Is this correct?
10 Is there a tool you can recommend that can assist agency's in evaluating an Offeror's ability to comply with the applicable 508 standards?

Session Questions

This session is accepting questions from registered users. After you have registered to participate in this session you can submit your questions on your Account Manager page. Please note: the number of questions will be limited and submissions will be closed well before the session starts to provide time to prepare answers.

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