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Audio description in live broadcasts

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 01:13:55 -0400
Message-Id: <a051003d9b769a6da9998@[]>
To: w3c-wai-ig@W3.org
Cc: jensutton@earthlink.net
>>The real challenge to 508-compliant multimedia is going to be 
>>incorporating audio descriptions in live broadcasts. I'd love to 
>>see an example of that, if it's out there.
>Now, I suppose that I can see occasions where this *could* be a 
>challenge. However, it seems to me that most live broadcasts can be 
>adequately audio-described by the presenters themselves.

No, *no*, *NO*. Commentary and audio description are manifestly not 
the same or interchangeable and the former cannot stand in for the 


>For example, a presenter should always verbalize the contents of a 
>chart or graph to which he/she is pointing.

Like we've ever, even once in our lives, witnessed a television 
presenter read out *and interpret for blind viewers* the full and 
complete contents of a chart or graph.

>So, in short, perhaps this is more of a challenge to educate trainers about
>why best practice is important for everyone, rather than an issue of
>technological barriers and challenges.

That remark sounds like one of those superficial magazine articles 
discussing "universal" design, which invariably focuses on one or two 
products out of the tens of thousands available in a typical mall. So 
much for universality.

Commentators will never provide what is actually needed for audio 
description, and this is one of those cases where the bromide that 
"universal" design *is great for everyone!* does not apply.

We have *actual experience* of live audio description and it behooves 
critics who think A.D. is an unnecessary frill to learn a bit before 
going off half-cocked.
         Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
         Author, _Building Accessible Websites_
         (New Riders Publishing, October 2001)
         Bookpage: <http://joeclark.org/book/>
         Bookblog: <http://joeclark.org/bookblog/>
Received on Thursday, 5 July 2001 01:15:17 UTC

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