As we left the cinema I felt oddly bereft. I was already missing my invisible friend interpreting the sighted world for me through my headset. How illuminating it would be, I thought, if audio description existed in real life and not just at the movies.
Hannah Thompson, via hannah-thompson.blogspot.co.uk
Can the cut scenes in EA Games be audio described as well?
Jake Anders, via Twitter
Something that is increasing in prevalence in other media (particularly film) but not yet for games is audio description; additional spoken audio that describes what is happening visually, usually communicated through natural breaks in the audio or less commonly by pausing the media while the description is spoken out.
Audio description aims to communicate as much as possible of the information that is conveyed through sound; actions, facial expressions, character appearances, environments, on-screen text. Not all of this can be communicated at all times, so it is prioritised according to how much can fit into any particular gap.
Describer: A title, “Teaching Evolution Case Studies. Bonnie Chen.” A teacher shows photographs of birds with long, thin beaks.
Bonnie Chen: “These photos were all taken at the Everglades.”
Describer: The teacher hands each student two flat, thin wooden sticks.
Bonnie Chen: “Today you will pretend to be a species of wading bird that has a beak like this.”
Describer: The teacher holds two of the sticks to her mouth making the shape of a beak.
Audio description presents obvious challenges with dynamic real-time content. However cut-scenes may be a good place to start, particularly where gameplay is already accessible to blind gamers through sound design or text-to-speech.