Accessible Information: making your messages reach the widest audience
Creating accessible public spaces and facilities would amount to nothing if we didn't then provide information about them. Research published in Making Connections shows us that one of the biggest barriers to visiting places is the lack of information about what is on offer. Over the last ten years, the Sensory Trust has been building expertise in accessible information design.
Making information more accessible ensures your promotion, on-site information and other materials reach the widest audience. While the benefits are widespread, there are some people who rely more on accessible information than others. In particular people with limited literacy, learning disabilities and hearing and visual impairments - including people who have forgotten to take their reading glasses on a day out.
Why does accessible information matter?
Our Making Connections research has shown that a failure to provide timely, accurate and accessible information is the second largest barrier preventing access for disabled and older visitors to a public greenspace. 42% of respondents said that their main reason for not visiting their local park was a lack of appropriate information. People are unlikely to visit if they don't know a place is accessible to them, and will have a poor experience if they can't access the information when they get there. Disappointed or frustrated visitors will quickly tell their friends about their experiences.
65% also said that word of mouth influenced their decision to visit.
Our accessible information work
Our Making Connections study prompted us to put greater focus on accessible information. Funding from the Big Lottery Fund supported a three year project through which we developed and test different approaches and designs and built lasting connections with information specialists such as Widgit Software and RNIB. People with learning difficulties, sensory impairments, physical disabilities, young and older people, helped us plan and produce accessible information that can be used to make environments more accessible for everyone.
Through project and consultancy work we undertake the following work:
- Provide guidelines, fact sheets and tools to demonstrate the value and importance of accessible information, illustrate examples of good practice and give practical instructions on how to produce it.
- Involve disabled people in identifying information needs, evaluating pilot materials and influencing design and planning decisions.
- Design and produce new materials to provide examples of good practice.
Case studies - accessible information in practice
- Widgit - how this pictorial symbol language helps people with learning difficulties
- Accessible web design guide (39k PDF)
- Accessible information: why it matters
- Using the access chain to plan information from the visitor's perspective
- Useful links
Can we help?
Sensory Trust consultancy services include designing and advising on:
- on-site and pre-visit visitor guides, leaflets, booklets
- maps, trail markers, signage
- games, activities to engage the senses