I hear what you see: Effects of audio description used in a cinema on immersion and enjoyment in blind and visually impaired people

Hättich, Achim ; Schweizer, Martina

In: British Journal of Visual Impairment, 2020, vol. 38, no. 3, p. 284–298

For people with disabilities being part of social life is essential for well-being. To accomplish this there are two possibilities: through interaction in person and through access to culture. One way to enjoy both possibilities is the cinema. For people with sight loss (people that are blind or visually impaired), there exists audio description which allows enjoying a film in a cinema.... More

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    Summary
    For people with disabilities being part of social life is essential for well-being. To accomplish this there are two possibilities: through interaction in person and through access to culture. One way to enjoy both possibilities is the cinema. For people with sight loss (people that are blind or visually impaired), there exists audio description which allows enjoying a film in a cinema. Project FASEA examined if this audience is as much immersed and could enjoy it as much as sighted people while watching a film with audio description, received through an app called ‘Greta’. Twenty-five people with blindness or visual impairment took part and were matched with sighted people in age, sex, education, and nationality. This was conducted in a commercial cinema under natural conditions with a comedy. We assessed immersion through the Narrative Engagement Scale (NES), the Modes of Reception Inventory (MOR), and the Audience Response Scale (ARS). Enjoyment was evaluated with the Emotions in Media Scale (EMS). People with sight loss showed lower scores in narrative understanding in NES and less thought-provoking and suspense in ARS. Also, they experienced fewer positive emotions. In all other scales, including all MOR scales, there were no differences between them and sighted people. The results confirm that audio description, provided by an application, is a useful tool for people with sight loss to immerse themselves and enjoy films as much as sighted people do and hence be part of social life.