Australian Design Centre is committed to creating accessible and inclusive communication online and in our physical spaces so that we can connect with audiences interested in contemporary craft and design.
Inclusive communication is an important way to involve as many Australians as possible in our work. When you consider that around 1 in 5 Australians (about 4.3 million) have a disability, many others speak English as a second language or even consider generational gaps, you can start to grasp that there are many ways we need to consider how to communicate with a variety of audiences.
Accessible Arts recently ran a practical workshop called Accessible Marketing and Communications attended by the team at ADC.
Here are our top five tips for inclusive communication:
- Consider language – Accessible Arts provides a useful chart of words no longer recommended and their updated suggestions. They gave reassuring advice to not panic about being correct 100% of the time but making the best effort to be inclusive.
- Invisible disability – around 90% of people with a disability have invisible or hidden conditions. Never make assumptions about someone’s condition just because you can’t see it. Consider accessibility at the start of all projects in real life and digital.
- Captioning – captioning is an important inclusion for online events. While ADC has used captions in our touring exhibition films for many years, we will be trialling using captions in our live digital events and social media videos.
- Alternative Text and Image Descriptions – Adding alternative text for images is essential for web accessibility. Images can be informational or decorative on a webpage and users of screen readers need alt text to understand what they may not be able to see.
- Hashtags and emojis– Hashtags can be difficult to understand for screen readers and people who are visually impaired. The recommended technique is called Camel Case and it looks like sentence case but without the gaps eg #SupportHandmade. Emojis are everywhere on social media however they are not a replacement for text and when used too much can make reading challenging for screen readers to interpret.
ADC recently upgraded our two websites australiandesigncentre.com and sydneycraftweek.com to include Alt Text for images and will endeavour to include image descriptions in our social media posts to improve accessibility.
We welcome feedback from our community about ways that we can improve accessibility to for people wanting to engage in our exhibitions, workshops, and programs.
Explore more at NSW’s peak arts and disability organisation Accessible Arts
Sue Jo Wright, Sign of The Time - Family, 2018 Photo: Courtesy of the artist.