One question a lot of people wonder when they think about the blind and visually impaired is, how do they engage with media and entertainment? Or, what types of entertainment do they interact with? Well, the obvious answer is through entertainment resources that use audio.
But what are the different services out there?
Nowadays, a lot of movies and TV shows include audio descriptions that help those who can’t see envision what’s happening on screen. This advancement toward accessibility is due in large part to the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CCVA). CCVA is a law enacted in October of 2010 with the goal of making sure that accessibility laws are brought up to date with 21st-century technologies, including new digital, broadband, and mobile innovations.
One of my favorite examples of this is from the trailer for the movie Frozen which you can watch here. By including audio descriptions on any video content you produce, you make that content inclusive to those who are blind or visually impaired.
Podcasts have surged in popularity over the last few years, which means it is now easier than ever to take a listen. Not only are there several different platforms you can listen on, such as Spotify or Apple Podcasts, but there is also a plethora of shows in every genre. From true crime to sports, you can find countless different podcasts that all have unique styles and content.
With more and more people listening to podcasts, this creates an even more significant connection between those who are sighted and those who have visual impairments because we are interacting with this entertainment in the same way.
Music has always been a great source of entertainment for those with visual impairments because it has never been one to rely on visuals. Over the decades, the mediums that we
use to listen to music have changed drastically. In the 21st century, music has become readily available at any time almost anywhere, making it a popular source of entertainment.
Here are a few of the best free platforms for listening to music:
A form of entertainment that is relatively new for those who are blind or visually impaired are accessible video games. For example, Pitch Black: The AAA Audio Game provides an audio-only game experience fully inclusive of all players, including those who are blind or visually impaired.
The game describes itself as a “narrative-driven binaural audio game, featuring explorable, immersive sound worlds, and a complex, dramatic story.”
For those of you like me who have never heard of binaural audio, this is a technology that aims to replicate the ways we hear in real life, which allows players to move through the soundscapes with precision and ease. If you want to learn more about the technology, check out this article.
Those who are blind or visually impaired do use the same types of entertainment that we all do—they just interact with it in a different way. As the world becomes more and more focused on digital technology, let’s all make sure we are keeping our entertainment content inclusive by creating it with accessibility in mind.