Skip to content

Technique G173:Providing a version of a movie with audio descriptions


Any technology that supports audio and video.

This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to provide a second version of video content that provides audio desciptions so that it is possible for people who cannot see to be able to understand audio-visual material.

Since most user agents today cannot merge multiple sound tracks, this technique adds the additional audio information to synchronized media by providing a second version of the movie where the original soundtrack and additional audio description have been combined in a single track. This additional information focuses on actions, characters, scene changes and on-screen text (not captions) that are important to understanding the content.

Since it is not helpful to have this new information obscure key audio information in the original sound track (or be obscured by loud sound effects), the new information is added during pauses in dialogue and sound effects. This limits the amount of supplementary information that can be added to program.

Providing a second version of the movie that includes audio descriptions as the primary sound track will make this content accessible for blind people who need to hear not only the dialogue, but also the context and other aspects of the video that are not communicated by the characters' dialogue alone.


  • Two versions of a video of an opera are available. The first version includes only the music. The second version includes both the music and voice describing the actions of the performers on stage.
  • A video of juggler performing in front of group of children includes a version with audio description. The narrator of the audio description describes the number and type of items the juggler is juggling as well as the reactions the children have during the performance.

Other sources

No endorsement implied.



  1. Open the version of the media that includes audio description.
  2. Listen to the movie.
  3. Check to see if gaps in dialogue are used to convey important information regarding visual content.
  4. If the alternate version(s) are on a separate page, check for the availability of link(s) to allow the user to get to the other versions.

Expected Results

  • #3 and #4 are true.

Test Rules

The following are Test Rules related to this Technique. It is not necessary to use these particular Test Rules to check for conformance with WCAG, but they are defined and approved test methods. For information on using Test Rules, see Understanding Test Rules for WCAG Success Criteria.

Back to Top