The Efficacy of Collaborative Authoring of Video Scene Descriptions


Rosiana Natalie, Jolene Loh, Huei Suen Tan, Joshua Tseng, Ian Luke Yi-Ren Chan, Ebrima H. Jarjue, Hernisa Kacorri, and Kotaro Hara


October 2021, Article No.: 17, Pages 1–15, https://doi.org/10.1145/3441852.3471201

Best Paper Nomination


The majority of online video contents remain inaccessible to people with visual impairments due to the lack of audio descriptions to depict the video scenes. Content creators have traditionally relied on professionals to author audio descriptions, but their service is costly and not readily-available. We investigate the feasibility of creating more cost-effective audio descriptions that are also of high quality by involving novices. Specifically, we designed, developed, and evaluated ViScene, a web-based collaborative audio description authoring tool that enables a sighted novice author and a reviewer either sighted or blind to interact and contribute to scene descriptions (SDs)—text that can be transformed into audio through text-to-speech. Through a mixed-design study with N = 60 participants, we assessed the quality of SDs created by sighted novices with feedback from both sighted and blind reviewers. Our results showed that with ViScene novices could produce content that is Descriptive, Objective, Referable, and Clear at a cost of i.e., US$2.81pvm to US$5.48pvm, which is 54% to 96% lower than the professional service. However, the descriptions lacked in other quality dimensions (e.g., learning, a measure of how well an SD conveys the video’s intended message). While professional audio describers remain the gold standard, for content creators who cannot afford it, ViScene offers a cost-effective alternative, ultimately leading to a more accessible medium.