YouDescribe Ios App - An Accessibility Tool For Adding Audio Descriptions To Online Videos


Rupal Khilari

Oral Defence Date: 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 16:00


TH 434


Profs. Ilmi Yoon & Bill Hsu


YouDescribe’ is a project founded by the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute’s (SKERI) Video Description Research and Development Center (VDRDC) with an aim to enable sighted volunteers to record audio descriptions for online videos for the benefit of users with low visual perception. It helps such users understand and experience visual content in online videos through audio descriptions played back along with the video. VDRDC’s current platform includes a server, a database and a web interface to facilitate this. Due to the increasing availability of online content through smartphones and the convenience it offers, there was a strong need to make YouDescribe available on mobile phones as well. Also, as YouDescribe requires complex interaction with audio functions, its web version was not available on mobile browsers. Stemming from these needs, the main objective of this project is to develop a native iOS application for YouDescribe that provides an accessible, mobile application for playing back and recording audio descriptions for online videos (particularly YouTube). The iOS ecosystem has historically included built-in support for accessibility and is very popular among visually challenged users, and hence it was the preferred platform for development. The YouDescribe iOS app presented here recreates the web experiences for video and audio playback, recording, searching, sharing and requesting for audio descriptions on social media with full support for low-vision accessibility. The key technical outcomes from this effort are the native iOS app for multiple devices, design approaches for building accessible components in Swift 3.0, and potential future extensions. We believe that the YouDescribe iOS app will not only enable visually challenged users to enjoy videos on their iPhones, but also encourage volunteers to make video content more accessible to everyone.


YouDescribe, iOS, YouTube, videos, Swift, accessibility, audio descriptions, blind, low-vision, visually-challenged, mobile app


Rupal Khilari