Review of Actiview: An App That Makes Moviegoing More Accessible

In last week’s Sandy’s View post, guest blogger Brett Shishkoff shared his experience and thoughts on enjoying “A Christmas Carol” with both a touch tour and audio description. Other forms of entertainment, such as movies and TV shows, are also accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired thanks to an audio description. This week, I will share my moviegoing experience using Actiview, a recently developed mobile app which provides audio description for those with vision loss, as well as closed captions, amplified audio and sign language interpretation for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. I recently went to the movies to watch Coco with an audio description using this app.

How Does Actiview Work?

At this time, the Actiview app is only available for iOS devices. After installing the app on an iPhone or iPad, users create a login username and password. Once logged in, a list of the available movies appears. There are currently six movies with audio description, closed captions, amplified audio and sign language interpretation. These include Wonderstruck, Coco and Breathe. Once a movie is selected from the list, the app displays the available accessibility options. Users can then download the content they need, either by using their cellular data or other Wi-Fi network. Once the desired movie is playing, either at the movie theater or at home, the audio description (or whichever accessibility option was selected) will sync with the movie. You can now sit back and enjoy the fully accessible movie! Below is a screenshot of the services available for viewing Coco with Actiview.

Screenshot of services available for watching Coco with the Actiview app.

My Thoughts

Without a doubt, using Actiview to watch Coco with audio description was simple and fun. After arriving at the movie theater, I did not have to spend extra time requesting or waiting for an audio description headset, which several theaters offer for its blind or visually impaired guests. I had also purchased my tickets in advance, so I was able to go right into the theater without having to wait in line. This turned out to be convenient, as I was running behind and made it just in time for the beginning of the movie! The syncing of the audio description only took about 15-20 seconds, and I was able to hear it using my own earbuds without any difficulties. This way I wouldn’t disturb my fellow moviegoers.

As far as the movie itself, I enjoyed Coco very much! Besides being entertaining, it also taught me a thing or two about the Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico and other Latin-American countries. As with other Disney/Pixar movies, Coco consisted of a lot of animation, so the audio description was essential for me to fully understand the film.

Actiview is just another example of how technology continues to help people with disabilities. Thanks to this app, those of us with visual impairments or who are deaf or hard of hearing can have more accessibility when watching movies. Using the app is accessible and a flawless process. I hope that more movies are added to the app’s collection in the near future, so we can continue to enjoy fully accessible moviegoing experiences. We all deserve to have accessible entertainment, and apps like Actiview are helping us get even closer to achieving that goal.

Have you used the Actiview or similar apps to enjoy movies with audio description? Please comment with your experience, or send an email to sandysview@chicagolighthouse.org. Happy accessible moviegoing!


sandy speaking

Sandy Murillo works at The Chicago Lighthouse, an organization serving the blind and visually impaired. She is the author of Sandy’s View, a bi-weekly Lighthouse blog about blindness and low vision. The blog covers topics of interest to those living with blindness and vision impairments. Being a blind journalist and blogger herself, Sandy shares her unique perspective about ways to live and cope with vision loss.

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