An audience at a performance

Target audiences

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:

  • Blind
  • 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.

Photo of Christine and quote "It can make you feel as though you are a bit of a fraud..."

Transcript: Visually impaired means to me the whole spectrum of blind and partially sighted –  covers both of them.  Ironically I call myself either visually impaired or partially sighted.  Visually impaired feels more up to date, more the in word.  I know that I went to one venue and I was with a friend, we both don’t look visually impaired but we both are, she asked for the audio description earphones and then I did and there was a little, little look of surprise as to why I would need them as well and it just, it can make you feel as though you’re a bit of a fraud because again if you have sight, if you have some sight the assumption is that you’ve got enough sight to see a play for example.

Olivia describes why awareness is more important than words or phrases.

Photo of Olivia and quote "I don't worry too much about labels"

Transcript: I’m, I suppose I would class myself as partially sighted. I don’t worry too much I think about labels, but for some people it’s difficult to know because I’m beginning to lose my sight quite suddenly which obviously is a shock to the system, but for some people I don’t know if you’ve never had any sight how they would feel about being called blind, whether they feel there’s some sort of stigma to that, I don’t know. I don’t think it would bother me, I would just want to be sure that people who came across me were aware of my level of disability.

Sandy describes how he might used different words or phrases to describe himself.

Photo of Sandy and quote "I don't mind being called blind because I am..."

Transcript: Well I think there are a number of terms that it’s appropriate to use.  I don’t mind being called blind because I am, completely blind, and I don’t mind being called visually impaired, some people argue about that, some people think it should be vision impaired. Sight impaired I like but if those are the standard terms that are in mind then I don’t mind them at all.

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.”

Now go to: What motivates them?