Visual-Impairment Research Agenda for Description (VIRAD)

The Smith-Kettlewell Video Description Research and Development Center is proud to be working with the WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) to develop the Visual-Impairment Research Agenda for Description (VIRAD) – a systematic road map charting gaps in the quantitative evidence about how description can and should be used to improve video accessibility for the blind. While many focus groups, advisory panels, and expert practitioners have contributed to the accumulation of anecdotal evidence to guide the creation and delivery of description, there remains a surprising dearth of evidence-based best practices in this field. VIRAD provides a guide to help scientists fill gaps in quantitative research on how best to develop and deliver video description to blind and visually-impaired students and other consumers.

NCAM is collaborating with the VDRDC to assemble a community of practice (CoP) consisting of the Description Leadership Network and other description stakeholders and researchers. The research agenda will be synthesized from discussions with the Community of Practice in a series of facilitated meetings and focus groups. The result will provide a prioritized list of research questions that need to be answered in order to improve the state of the science of description for the blind and visually-impaired. NCAM will deliver a written report and presentation to be made available in conjunction with the proceedings of the 2013 annual meeting of the Description Leadership Network in San Francisco.