Massive streaming service HBO Max has added a key accessibility feature for blind and visually impaired users, helping them enjoy the same content as everyone else. The service now offers audio descriptions for content, which describes what is happening on the screen beyond the dialog and sound effects. This feature is joined by multiple other changes intended to improve accessibility.
WarnerMedia agreed to add accessibility for low-vision and blind users back in October. In the first rollout of features under this plan, the company is adding around 1,500 hours of audio descriptions for select content, including some third-party content, HBO originals, HBO Max originals, and Warner Bros movies, according to the American Council of the Blind.
In addition to the audio descriptions, HBO Max is also rolling out a ‘prominently featured’ Audio Description category in the navigation menu so that users can rapidly access this media. Both the HBO Max mobile apps and website are getting accessibility improvements that enable them to work better with screen reading software.
Likewise, the changes arriving this week include new HBO Max help articles for customers who have disabilities, ones intended to help users utilize accessibility features. Finally, HBO Max is also training its customer service reps on how to support these customers.
As for the audio descriptions, the ACB says WarnerMedia will expand the amount of programming that has this option — to the tune of around double the audio description content by next March and 6,000 hours or more by March 2023. Current shows that include this accessibility feature include Sesame Street, Dunkirk, His Dark Materials, Euphoria, and more.