This step focuses on the deconstruction of the brochure into describable components. Now that you have the brochure in hand, including its digital versions, and can look carefully at how it is designed, you can begin to make design decisions necessary to turn this piece of paper into an audible experience. What we are doing in this step is deciding what parts get described together, in the same audio-file component, and what parts get described separately.
First important point: Any decision you make now in UniD always can be changed later (and fairly easily) in our system. You might, at first glance, for example, think the descriptions of Lincoln's parents should be combined into a single component:
But then later, you think, those really should be described separately in separate components, for whatever reason. In the UniD system (per other training modules on this site, about how to use the Frontstage tools), such combinations or separations are easy to make. Your structure likely will change and evolve as you write your descriptions and get more deeply familiar with the content. Depending on what you say about Lincoln's parents in one component, for example, will affect what you describe in another. So my recommendation for the setup is to make decisions that you think are best but also be prepared to update those decisions as you go.
Second important point: A reason a physical brochure is helpful is because it helps to simulate the experience of the user. As the audio describer, you can hold the brochure, as it is folded, and flip it over, and unfold it into sections to allow those folds to also help guide your decisions.
A few more examples:
On this cover of the Lincoln Boyhood Home, what first appears to be just one element to describe (the main photograph) actually is six distinct elements that need to be either combined or separated.
Here is what I see on the page:
1. The black bar. This is a distinctive design element of NPS brochures using the Unigrid style. They all have this black bar, and that's not just negative space. It signals to the viewer that this is a NPS-branded document. It can be described as a visual element, either alone or as a container for other parts listed below in 2-4. The designer needs to decide should it stand alone as a component or be described with 2, 3, or 4 below (and maybe even 5 and 6), or all of the above.
2. The NPS Arrowhead. One of the most well-known logos in U.S. history, this arrowhead also is part of the branding, communicating to the viewer that this document has the NPS stamp of approval on it. Look closely at the logo and its elements, which represent the scope of the NPS.
3. and 4. This is standard branding text, in the same Helvetica typeface used in all Unigrid brochures. Our recommendation always is to transcribe all text on the brochure, so the listener can hear everything that was written on the brochure. That text then is part of the description, but a designer also could choose to go a step further, and, for example, describe the typeface in more depth.
As in, according to the NPS, Helvetica was chosen for this design because:
"it has crisp, clean details and typographic texture that make it esthetically appealing and easy to read. It has a clearly defined hierarchy of sizes and weights with known typographic results and thus is compatible with such special applications as maps and tabular material found in NPS folders. Park names, set in Helvetica display in the title bar, establish the folder's typographic scale and serve as a logotype for the series.
Helvetica is particularly suited to the offset process used for printing NPS folders because of its line strength, consistent color, a lack of idiosyncrasies, and large x-height. Helvetica's large x-height, the height of lower case letters, such as the x, strengthens the word form and therefore the text's legibility. Helvetica is one of the few typefaces with this large x-height that is also neutral in style.
This type is available in a wide range of sizes and weights in both metal and film composition. It serves large display and small caption purposes without loss of character. Helvetica, when used as specified, promises legibility, a savings in time and money in the design process, and a consistent typographic appearance for the series."
My point in including all of that description about the typeface is that even the smallest details in a brochure are important, deeply considered and articulated by the designer, and have meaning to the audience, even if that meaning is not consciously understood. At the bare minimum, though, the listener should be able to hear all of the included text on the brochure.
5. A quote. Sometimes, these quotes are connected explicitly to another component. And sometimes they are not. In this case, the quote refers to Lincoln's boyhood home, but that original home cannot be seen in the underlying image, of the Memorial Visitor Center, creating something of a visual disconnect. So the audio describer has to decide: Is this quote explicitly associated with this particular image (creating a connection that needs to be described together, in a single component), or does this quote transcend its placement on the page, to cover more than just this other element (and should therefore be described separately, in its own component, standing alone)? Again, either way is "right." But when your audio design comes together, you might decide that the quote works better alone or with this photo, and adjustments can be made.
6. The main image. This shows the front of the Memorial Visitor Center, not the boyhood home, which is not explained until deep into the text on the front side of the brochure. So this is where the Audio Description actually will reorder the content, to some degree, as a part of the remediation, and people listening to the description of the Memorial Visitor Center would hear about it sooner than a reader would see its description in the brochure text. That's also OK.
7. Sometimes tiny bits of text can go undetected, but those texts might, as in this case, credit the creator of the image. That is an element that was included in the visual version, so it also should be included in the audible version.
The goal is to design an equivalent experience, not an identical experience. Again, your design choices might not match someone else, but you have been given this job to describe the brochure. So you get to make the artistic choices. Your listeners trust that you will make the best choices you can for them.