Who’s it for?
The primary target audience for audio description is visually impaired people.
What does ‘visually impaired’ mean?
The term visually impaired, or VI, can be used to cover a range of people with a very broad range of sight levels. Generally they are broken down into 2 groups:
- Partially sighted
Audio description users can fall into either of these categories and each individual may have a different perspective.
Try this …
Click on the clips below to see some examples of how blind and partially sighted people may describe themselves:
Christine describes how people can misunderstand what visually impaired means.
Olivia describes why awareness is more important than words or phrases.
Sandy describes how he might used different words or phrases to describe himself.
You can find out more about these definitions and the different terminology used in the LANGUAGE section.
What patrons say …
“I am blind but that doesn’t mean I can’t see anything.”
“I don’t consider myself to be disabled.”
“I have nothing in common with other blind people.”
“Just because it’s described doesn’t mean I’ll want to come and see it – it may not be my cup of tea.”
Blind and partially sighted people are just as diverse as any other market sector so all they may have in common is their impairment. That’s not an effective way to target them because they have different needs and concerns.
Many visually impaired people don’t think of themselves as disabled so they ignore or reject messages about disability or access. This is particularly true of the vast majority of people who experience a gradual loss of sight, as they get older. Around 80% of people who participated in the Network 1000 survey (2006) identified as retired/of retirement age.
A member of the public who is new to being visually impaired, who may have been a regular theatregoer but who has been enjoying the experience less and less, is unlikely to pick up a leaflet about services for disabled people, or even for blind people, and they will have little to no personal relationship with terms like ‘accessible’ or ‘assisted performances’.
What you can do …
- Focus on how patrons see themselves: their preferences, outlook and beliefs.
- Consider their attitudes to the arts generally and to your organisation.
- Highlight your audio described performances to everyone – not just those who identify as blind or partially sighted.