YouDescribe Logo

YouDescribe is a free, web-based platform for adding audio description to YouTube content.

YouDescribe’s History:

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 has been supported from 2013-2023 by grants from: NEI Department of Education , NIDLIRR- RERC on Blindness, and Low Vision and Ability Central (formerly The Disabilities Communication Fund).

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 summer of 2023 four new interfaces will be launched an updated iOS app for mobile viewing, Andriod app viewing and two describer interfaces.   



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).


In YouDescribe:

  • 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.

  • 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:

On May 18, 2017, in honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, the award-winning YouDescribe was relaunched after a total rebuild by students through a JavaScript Full Stack immersion program at Codesmith.

The YouDescribe 2023 rebuild is a collaboration between San Francisco State University and Smith-Kettelwell Eye Research Institute.