YouDescribe is a free, web-based platform for adding audio description to YouTube content.
First launched in 2013, YouDescribe was developed as a project of The Smith-Kettlewell Video Description Research and Development Center by scientist Joshua Miele, through a grant from the Department of Education OSEP. YouDescribe's incredible utility makes it an asset to a number of different projects, and over the past few years, it has built a base of hundreds of volunteer describers and thousands of blind viewers.
YouDescribe users currently include:
Universities making educational materials accessible to blind students.
Work places providing training for employees
Classroom teachers creating accessible video content for not only students with visual impairments, but also new language learners, and students on the autism spectrum who benefit from an addition layer of context.
Family members describing content for other family members.
Fans describing favorite videos for the world.
And professional describers providing quick and easy services to clients.
In 2017, YouDescribe was completely rewritten to improve compatibility and functionality.
With YouDescribe, video description is no longer a luxury; anyone can add audio description to videos uploaded on YouTube. Choose a video, pause it to insert brief descriptions, and tell us what you see! When viewed with YouDescribe, your voice is inserted into those spots in the video. Viewers can choose to listen to the descriptions inline (while the video continues to play) or in extended mode (the video stops while the action is described).
Users are able to add video titles to a wish list and vote up titles that are already on the wish list.
YouDescribe allows viewers to rate a description’s quality with up to five stars, and also have the option of selecting from a list of suggested improvements.
New features have been added to the authoring interface, including a place to draft a script, a visual timeline showing where description clips have been added, and visual indicators for both inline and extended description clips.
YouDescribe continues to allow describers to add description clips as either inline (dubbed over the video soundtrack), or extended (a special option that pauses the video for the duration of the description clip).
Significant improvements have been made to the user login, and registration system by allowing describers and viewers to log in with Google ID.
YouDescribe works best with Chrome, and Firefox.
Native iOS is available for viewing only
More features are in development. YouDescribeX, a text to speech version with AI-generated audio description prompts, is currently in development through a partnership with San Francisco State University, and Ability Central.
Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day:
Rehabilitation Engineering Research CenterRead More
The Center's research goal is to develop and apply new scientific knowledge and practical, cost-effective devices to better understand and address the real-world problems of blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind consumers
Description Research and Innovation LabRead More
Imagining and building the tools for a more accessible future in education, employment, and entertainment for people with visual disabilities.
- Charity Pitcher-Cooper - Project Coordinator
- Joshua Miele - Principal Accessibility Researcher, Amazon Lab126
Relaunch of YouDescribe
On May 18, 2017, in honor of the sixth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), Smith-Kettlewell relaunched the award- winning YouDescribe with new features, expanded capabilities, aRead More
DescribeAthon 17 'Marathon'
On January 26, 2017, in San Francisco, the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute’s Rehabilitation and Engineering Research Center (RERC) hosted DescribeAthon 17 -- an event thatRead More