The YouDescribe app gives blind and visually-impaired viewers convenient mobile access to a rapidly growing collection of YouTube videos with audio description -- an extra soundtrack added by a describer to tell the viewer about text, illustrations, setting, gestures and facial expressions that are otherwise not accessible to blind viewers, or to otherwise aid viewers who benefit from additional description to understand the video content. The YouDescribe app for iOS lets you choose from thousands of YouTube videos described by our global community of contributors. The app also lets you request descriptions for YouTube videos that have not yet been described, and rate descriptions that have already been created.

YouDescribe is free and easy to use from the iOS app or from the desktop. The app has been extensively tested with the VoiceOver screenreader, and the web site works well with a variety of screen reader/browser combinations.

If you are interested in joining the community of volunteer describers to record audio descriptions for others to view on YouDescribe, use a desktop browser and visit us at
We will be adding the ability to record from the app in an upcoming release.

Who are the describers?
* Teachers of the visually impaired who want to give their students better access to educational videos;
* Sighted friends and family of all ages who want to share their favorite YouTube videos with the blind people in their lives;
* Children and adults who believe in accessibility and want to help make video more accessible for blind or neuro-diverse viewers.

The YouDescribe app can be used to:
* Watch the latest contributions to the YouDescribe collection
* Search for and view described or undescribed YouTube videos
* Rate the quality of any audio description with up to 5 stars
* Make suggestions for how individual describers can improve their AD technique,
* Submit requests for YouTube videos you want described.
* Share links to videos on YouDescribe

Learn more about Smith-Kettlewell at
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The YouDescribe app was developed by Rupal Khilari as part of her master’s degree under the direction of Dr. Ilmi Yoon of San Francisco State University, and Dr. Joshua Miele of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute.

What’s New

Version 1.0.1

Watch all contributions to the YouDescribe collection, search for videos, rate, share and request audio descriptions for YouTube videos.

Ratings and Reviews

2.9 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

TheTechPianoPlayerKid ,

App crashes

I heard about this app, and it sounds really interesting. The only problem is, whenever I try to open it, it keeps crashing. I hope this is fixed very soon.

Geode21 ,

Works well, but has minor problems

This app is working well for me, but I'm having a few minor issues. The first issue I'm having is that when I'm in the search tab, I can't go back so for example, if I select trailers, and then I decide that I want to switch from trailers to funny videos, I can't do that unless I Close and open the app. Also, it isn't very clear that you have to tap on the search heading in order to type in your own text. It isn't very clear that that is a text box. I was searching for a video that I wanted to get described and I know it is on YouTube, but it wasn't coming up.

Also, I wish I could leave more specific feedback. I was watching a video about three ways to prepare watermelon, and I thought the description was mostly good, but one thing I wanted to add is that they describe her was reading everything that was on the video, but I could hear her stirring and boiling, so I know that there were things happening in the video as well. For example, she would read the recipe, but from what I could hear in the background, I think that you could also see someone making the recipe on the video, but I'm not sure. I wanted to say somehow but if you could actually see the person making the recipes, I wanted some description of that as well, But there was no way for me to say that.

Other than those minor problems I'm having, I really like it. I know the volunteers are doing it, but I think the descriptions I have experience so far are relatively good. I hope there will be a way to add it to Livestreams on YouTube as well, or if you want to watch something like the Apple event described. This app really does fill a necessary gap because YouTube videos do not have audio description, and there is normally no way to get it because they are just made by random people. Even on the cooking videos where they read the recipe, it would really help to have description to know things like what did the cookies look like? Were they flat or were they puffy? If I was looking for a recipe for thin, black cookies, then I could know whether that one would be good. Or what did the dough look like? What is the person trying to show me? I was watching chef support with Gordon Ramsay where he answers questions from Twitter, and he was showing all sorts of different things from different ways to chop garlic and all sorts of things, but it wasn't described so I got nothing out of it. I would also like to get advertisements and movie previews with descriptions because I can never understand what is going on in those. I'm really glad to have this app because I feel very excluded a lot. I do hope you will advertise more so that we can get A lot of sighted volunteers to do more videos, and if the video is longer, I would also be fine if there was a way for different people to describe one section. I don't know if I will ever get the video that I want because it is a documentary, and everything is in a foreign language so it has subtitles, and then you have to know what is happening. There is no way I can watch it at all without description. Whoever, a single volunteer who might not have even done it before might be daunted by the difficult task of my documentary. YouTube also has some TV shows and made-for-TV movies that are longer.

Bass player 92 ,

Worked for a while then quit

This app has great potential. Only problem is when I try to open the app, it crashes. I do hope this app is fixed soon, because it’s awesome and I’d like to use it.


Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute
20.4 MB

Requires iOS 9.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.



Age Rating


  • Family Sharing

    With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.

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