What should we call this project? Branding ideas …

I’ve been working on branding ideas for the audio description project, in terms of a logo and mission statement, and such, and here’s what I’m thinking:

We like the name UniDescription, because it connects to the history of the UniGrid brochures, which inspired this project, and it’s unusual (easy to get the domain names). It also offers us a mission within its name (to unite the world of audio description).

The prefix of this name Uni can refer to many ideas at once; it links to the UniGrid brochures but also our attempts at uniting everyone in the world interested in audio description. Its foundations are in Universal Design (another UniD), and we hope to bring unity to this field, through our work, unifying researchers, practitioners, users, and supporters. I also think we could pronounce this project as the UniD (sounds like Unity) project.

Some draft logos are below (I’ve already asked for the bottom text to say Audio Description, not just Description); what are you thoughts on all of this? Good direction? Have a better idea? Just let me know! …

UniD logo3 copy.jpg
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Audio description project featured at SIGDOC in Ireland

Brett Oppegaard presented the latest findings on our audio description research project at The Association of Computer Machinery’s annual conference for the Special Interest Group on the Design of Communication, this year held in Limerick, Ireland. The presentation focused on “Envisioning Mobile Apps for Audio Description: Exploring Universal Design of National Park Service Brochures” and covered several initial rounds of content analysis on National Park Service brochures, data which will help with the cross-modal translation of the brochures in later rounds of the research. Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 11.34.04 PM

Mobile for everyone? An analysis of National Park Service audio description as a step toward improving universal design through mobile

Brett Oppegaard presented (in representation of Megan Conway and Tom Conway) the paper “Mobile for everyone? An analysis of National Park Service audio description as a step toward improving universal design through mobile” at the 2015 International Communication Association Mobile preconference in Puerto Rico on 5-20-15.

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Ka Leo coverage: UH researchers to assist the visually impaired through web tool at national parks

Posted: Monday, January 5, 2015 7:00 am

Researchers on campus plan to develop a web tool that will assist the blind and visually impaired at national parks thanks to a $278,300 National Park Service (NPS) grant.

“We will start by building 3-5 prototypes,” assistant professor Brett Oppegaard said. “Our goal is to make a web tool for creating audio description that can be used throughout the National Park Service, and beyond, at any place audio description could be valuable.”

According to Oppegaard, who teaches in the campus School of Communications, the group’s goal is to be finished in 2017.

Oppegaard said the project would be environmentally friendly, converting the traditional brochures to audio. The finished project will operate on park goers’ systems as mp3 files.

The location for the test protocol will be determined in 2015.


Oppegaard believes that visually-impaired people deserve the same as every other person at learning about the parks and that the audio would stem information to those who want to learn more.

“Although we haven’t decided exactly on the delivery system, we plan to share the audio description files primarily through mobile apps and web downloads,” Oppegaard said. “We might use QR codes as part of the marketing, but the project will not primarily be shared via QR codes.”

According to Thomas Conway, media coordinator and project director for the EmployAble Project of the Center on Disabilities Studies in the College of Education, the initial text for the speech program will be in English but it can also be translated into other languages.

He added that the difference between the audio description and the straightforward translation is the description part.

“We are giving a translation of what is being communicated,” Conway said.  “We are attempting to describe what it’s like to be there.”


Conway said Braille, a method used for the blind by touch reading, would be an option that is based on the text translations. Since the project is the start of the pilot study, the researchers are concentrating on what the NPS (National Park Service) brochures currently offer.

“A future project will be to offer more indepth information,” he said, describing an optional long version of the brochure that would explain more to those whom are interested.

Conway, along with his wife, Megan Conway, assistant professor and a faculty member in the Disability and Diversity Studies Program, will be working on the upcoming NPS project along with Sean Zdenek, an associate professor for the Department of English at Texas Tech University, who teaches disability studies and rhetorical criticism.

“This pilot study is addressing the ADA (Americans with Disability Act) and is offering an alternative format for people who are vision impaired or blind,” Conway said. “We also expect other people to use the product.”

He added that people would be able to listen to the description in the car while experiencing the park.

According to Oppegaard, some people listen better than reading and that the audio can also be enjoyed by everyone including people that have dyslexia.