Description of Visual Elements


Visual elements presented in the form of graphics, charts, or video may not be accessible to blind users, low-vision users, or users with cognitive impairment.   Description of key visual elements (i.e., elements that are only presented visually) in the form of alternative text, long description, transcripts, or audio description, makes these elements more accessible to users.  When describing for educational purposes, the key visual elements are typically those that convey an essential learning goal.  

Resources with Guidance and Best practices

Description and Captioned Media Program (DCMP)opens in new window - includes information on what description is, how to do it, resources and learning opportunities, as well as vendor lists.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in Higher Education — Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)opens in new window - Strategies on making various types of multimedia accessible to students with disabilities, including adding video description as well as describing graphics with ALT text or long descriptions.

DIAGRAM Centeropens in new window - A collaboration of Benetech, DAISY and NCAM whose primary purpose is to disseminate information about methods to describe graphic content in accessible materials so that those with print disabilities have equal access to educational curricula.

Effective Practices for Description of Science Content in Digital Talking Booksopens in new window — Guidelines and examples for generating and adding description of Science diagrams to digital talking books by National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH.  

Using HTML5 and Javascript to Deliver Text-Based Audio Descriptionsopens in new window - A joint project of WGBH/NCAM and IBM defines a process to create text based audio descriptinos for video content.