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WCAG: 1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded)

audio-description1-2-5

What does adding an audio description mean?

Adding audio descriptions is pretty much what it sounds like. It's simply using spoken audio to describe what's happening in your video content. For example, things to be included in the descriptions would be:

  • Describing/ introducing who's speaking
  • Explaining overall setting, and visual elements that are key in the narrative
  • Explaining time/ duration that's critical to the narrative

This description would appear in a separate audio file with optional playback supported by the video.

Wait - how is this different than WCAG 1.2.3?

If you're experiencing déjà vu from the article covering audio and video descriptions in video, you aren't going crazy.

"But why would there be two compliance items that are so similar?"

In WCAG 1.2.3, you can either do audio or text descriptions to accompany the video, and you'll be Level A compliant. To be Level AA, you *must* do the spoken/ audio version description.

Example of WCAG 1.2.5 compliance

Listening is better than describing, so let's cut to the chase. What's a solid example of audio descriptions? Let's look at a clip of The Lion King. You'll notice a few things:

  • ​​The audio is high quality and easily distinguishable from the actual video audio.
  • The describer adds to the experience. Her tone, pacing is excellent.
  • She's describing almost everything; what the characters are doing and how they're interacting, the scenery and environment, and much more.