Access is a tool for collective liberation. Deaths by Welfare is designed using the principles of Disability Justice – bringing creativity and flexibility to find ways to be in community with each other. Disability Justice teaches us that “no body or mind can be left behind – only moving together can we accomplish the revolution we require”.
For us, practising Disability Justice in real-time means creativity in navigating our current context and conditions, learning and unlearning, getting things wrong and being accountable.
While we recognise that there’s no single experience of accessibility, accessibility has deeply informed how we’ve designed the timeline.
With Access Power Visibility collective we facilitated an online access workshop where we learned from people with lived experience (who were paid for their expertise). Because the timeline is about a brutal system, we have been very intentional in not reproducing this violence in our work. For example, we have learned a lot about the importance of giving meaningful content warnings and providing aftercare resources – to try to support people impacted by the welfare system to access the evidence we have put together in a way that doesn’t reproduce harm. The website has also been designed to filter for certain content with this in mind.
We sought advice on how best to make the timeline meaningful for folks who use Easy Read. We were advised against translating the whole timeline and so instead we worked with Door in the Wall Arts Access – a disabled-led social enterprise that works for a more inclusive creative sector in Scotland – to translate the introduction to the project and a summary of the timeline into Easy Read. The Easy Read translation was tested with a group of people who use Easy Read.
Our dream was for our timeline to be translated into BSL. When we struggled to get funding for this, we had long conversations about whether we should continue to delay launching the website without BSL. Eventually, we decided it was important to make the evidence public as soon as possible, but we will continue to fundraise for BSL translation and welcome any suggestions on this.
Text to speech
For text to speech on the website we worked with Read Speaker – who provide lifelike online text-to-speech solutions.
Website Design & Development:
The website has been designed and developed with The Social Model of Disability in mind, meaning that we have tried to reduce any barriers to the content by implementing custom accessibility features such as; alternative AAA colour contrast options, alternative fonts, the ability to increase body font sizes, the option to change the title styles to be uppercase, title case or sentence case, cursor size options, line height options, the ability to highlight hyperlinks and an interactive reading mask. The accessibility features are presented before entering the main site so to avoid assuming the users access preferences. The website also aims to keep in mind screen readers through its layout and use of tags, whilst also keeping in line with WCAG web accessibility guidelines.
In line with the feedback from our online access workshop, we also designed the timeline to have multiple versions, one more condensed as seen with the List View, and one more interactive and accessible as with the main Timeline. Both timelines aim to show a synopsis of the main content before clicking through, allowing users to determine if that content is something they wish to read based on any content warnings and a short title.
As a collective our goal is to explore new ways to make spaces and content accessible, and we are open to any feedback and suggestions for ways we can improve this website and build on our learning. Whilst we hope this website will be accessible to a wide range of people with different experiences, we hope that with access to further funding we can continue to build on the accessibility of the website in the near future to include features such as BSL, as mentioned previously. If you have any suggestions, feedback or thoughts you would like to share with us please give us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org