via Laura Neale and Emma Major
We started a new series here earlier this month in which we are going to be speaking to individuals about their experiences of digital inclusivity and accessibility. If you missed the first blog post, you can check it out here.
Today, we have Lydia who is sharing her experiences with you as well as some tips on how you can make your digital content, presence and community more inclusive and accessible.
Lydia has experience of mental ill health (depression and anxiety), was diagnosed with dyslexia and Irlen syndrome at University and more recently, she received a diagnosis of hypermobility which can lead to pain and fatigue.
Below, Lydia has shared some of the good, the bad (and the ugly?) of digital inclusivity and accessibility with us…
Due to verbal processing issues, Lydia struggles to construct an answer in her head and verbalise it before the conversation has moved on so she ‘rejoices in zoom meetings where the host invites feedback in the chat as well as verbally’. (Editor: This is increasingly common where people need time to process rather than respond immediately - hence people prefer texting to spontaneous phone calls.) If the comments/chat are monitored well, these can be read in real time and included in the conversation.
Zoom has a new feature that all licensed accounts can now include automatically created captions in their meetings. They do not always perfectly interpret spoken words into the correct written text but they are helpful. As Lydia points out "I have a period of lapsed concentration, I can look back at the conversation to see what has been discussed using the captions."
So online interactions can add other levels of slow comms which onsite meetings can't easily offer. Imagine doing a live transcription of a meeting in a church building.
Lydia: "I have watched SO many YouTube clips where there is music playing whilst someone is speaking. This is very distracting and means that I can’t always hear or focus on what the person is saying."
Avoid having speech and music at the same time to avoid this issue.
Lydia: "I struggle to read text from images - so please make sure to copy any text written in images into the text box that goes with it, and always use alt text."
If you are providing handouts, it’s a good idea to ask people what font or paper colour they would prefer.
Lydia: "I can’t really read comic sans, and times new roman is difficult too so make sure you are using fonts that are accessible. There is a specific font designed to help people with dyslexia called Open-Dyslexic"
If you are hosting a Zoom meeting that is longer than half an hour to an hour, please offer time for people to get up and move about.
Lydia: "Long zoom meetings without breaks are an issue both in terms of concentration levels and pain and fatigue so please ensure that you have a break, even if it’s a 30 second wiggle or dance party!"