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Fest sites no help to visually impaired?

06 Oct 08 - 12:14 PM (#2458471)
Subject: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Richard Bridge

Our own Wild Rover and his friend Dave, both of whom are visally impaired have suggested this thread.

I may as well use their words: -

"Dave and I have noticed the same phenomenon in the last couple of years:

Until recently, it seemed easier to visit websites to find out who's on when at folk festivals. However, we are increasingly encountering official websites that no longer tell you when the acts will perform. Instead of timetabled events we are getting thinks like:

"We have an amazing line-up of guests this year, including A, B, C, ... X, Y, Z. You can get your programme from...

As none of the programmes are available on the website or in alternative formats, the end result is that we often decide it's too much faff and hassle finding out where to be when we want to be there, and don't go. Does anyone have any idea how festival organisers could open up programme information to people with print impairments again? We used to get a fiver's worth of information, now we get a quid's worth, if that, so to speak.

We wonder whether the information has been left off websites in an effort to encourage more people to buy programmes...which of course are as useful to us as chocolate fireguards.

Best,
Clive


Never argue with a fool, for he is doing the same. (Les Barker, see Detritus, available on the album Guide Cats for the Blind)"


06 Oct 08 - 03:58 PM (#2458667)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: VirginiaTam

Certainly any boroughs or local authorities sponsoring events should be slapped on the wrist for not providing easily accessible details in every shape and form. Government websites are required to have links to alternative fomats or at the very least contact information for obtaining information in alternative formats as well as other languages.

As I needed to take advice from them before for a customer in a work related matter, I have requested input from Disability Essex. They were very helpful and may be able to suggest some ways to encourage event organisers to make information accessible to everyone.

Anyway, here's to keeping this thread at the top of the forum for a bit, so it is seen by as many as possible.


06 Oct 08 - 07:37 PM (#2458814)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Sandra in Sydney

our blind friend gets most of her info from her husband, & is led around by him (& us) at Festivals as she does not take her dog.

As your correspondences said, others are not so lucky, with many websites not set up for use by visually-impaired folks.

good luck in getting things changed.

sandra


07 Oct 08 - 05:28 AM (#2459044)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Cath

Holmfirth Festival of Folk puts a pdf of the working programme on the site as soon as it's near enough finalised.
Cath


07 Oct 08 - 08:24 AM (#2459155)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Mo the caller

Whitby put their programme up this year for the first time. Though it would have been more help if they'd told us where things were, it's a long run between the Met & the Middle Earth & back.


08 Oct 08 - 05:36 AM (#2459965)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: The Fooles Troupe

One of my big gripes for years about websites in general is that many are using graphics instead of ASCII (or HTML) text - this is unreadable by those who are using 'text readers'. Also the graphics usually cannot be 'blown up' (magnified) and so can be unreadable.


08 Oct 08 - 06:08 AM (#2459988)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Jack Campin

If Holmfirth can produce a PDF then they can also produce a text file, which is far more use to a blind person. Some PDFs simply encapsulate bitmaps and are totally unreadable - the Niel Gow Festival in Dunkeld did that. Even the ones that do contain text make that text far more difficult to get at than it would be in ASCII, HTML or even MS Word format.

There are other benefits to providing information textually. Text can be easily copied and passed on virally by email, shared calendars or SMS.

I suspect the problem is often that producing publicity is seen as the same thing as producing a brochure, which in turn is seen as the sort of task you get a graphic designer to do. And graphic designers are uniformly a bunch of self-centred know-nothing parasites who only think about aesthetic values as defined by themselves and couldn't give a flying fuck about accessibility.


08 Oct 08 - 08:42 AM (#2460095)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: The Fooles Troupe

Yep Jack...


08 Oct 08 - 01:48 PM (#2460360)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T

I have been heavily involved, with Clive Lever, in issues surrounding this development.

There is a culture of resistance to the idea of making websites accessible to the Blind and it seems to centre around the insistence that the internet, and television, are visual media, and "Why would a blind person want to have TV programs described?" "Should he not be listening to radio instead".

The USA, for once, seem to have a practical answer to the problem


08 Oct 08 - 02:01 PM (#2460375)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T

Damn, hit the wrong button.

To continue, Companies which do not comply with accessibility requirements in the states, are, as I understand the situation, debarred from doing business with government departments, which seems very effective.

How this could be applied when it is Local Government Departments failing to respond, I don't really know.

The first, and most urgent thing is to let these people know that they are falling far short of the basic requirements of the DDA.

Jack is right about the PDF encapsulating bitmaps. It is useless to anyone who cannot see, and unnecessary for those who CAN.

As to any arguments about the adverse aesthetic effect of text on a web page, I believe it is possible for a screen reader to read text which is the same colour as the background, and therefore invisible to the HUMAN eye.

If so, then the only excuse for not captioning graphics is laziness, as the addition of text would have no impact on loading speed for web pages.

Don T.


11 Oct 08 - 03:51 AM (#2462793)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: VirginiaTam

The problem still remains. How to get organisers to provide full programme of events electronically, whether posted in full on website or by request through contact details on site. Unfortunately, the onus falls upon the person with the need to contact organisers to request this.

This is the info I received from Disability Essex. Not too helpful really. I guess we all knew this.

[Hello Tamara

Many thanks for your enquiry.

Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 refers. This requires those providing goods or a service (whether they are paid for or not) to ensure that people with disabilities are not treated less favourably for a reason related to their disability. Since 1999 service providers have had to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people such as providing extra help or making changes to the way they provide the service, and that people with disabilities do not pay extra for this adjustment.

The expression 'reasonable adjustment' would take into account the nature of the barrier to inclusivity, the cost of the adjustments and the resources of the service provider. For example: How can the organisers of the Glastonbury 'mud bath' make it accessible to wheelchair users, and how much would they have to spend?

If members of the public can obtain a (printed) programme of events - whether paid for, or free of charge, then the same programme in an alternative format should also be available for the same price.

We hope that this helps, but if we can be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact us.

Regards
Disability Essex
Centre for Disability Studies]

Sadly, it all boils down to a matter of inconvenience for all concerned.


12 Oct 08 - 02:14 AM (#2463445)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Liz the Squeak

Sounds like a question you need to put to the Association of Folk Festival Directors in general and Certain Festial Organisers in particular.

LTS


12 Oct 08 - 03:06 AM (#2463467)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Liz the Squeak

That's festiVal... hard to type with a cat.

LTS


12 Oct 08 - 06:37 AM (#2463516)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Richard Bridge

Or, with a cat, bestial organisers?


12 Oct 08 - 07:04 AM (#2463526)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: VirginiaTam

Sounds like a question you need to put to the Association of Folk Festival Directors in general and Certain Festial Organisers in particular.

Excellent idea, but who should be responsible for contacting the Association? Should they be PMd? Or should someone post the problem on their thread?

I have had a look at the Mudcat Association of Folk Festival Directors


12 Oct 08 - 07:06 AM (#2463527)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: VirginiaTam

Blasted mouse tried to slide away and I clicked before I meant to.

There is not much going on the site mentioned above. How many fesitival directors actually access the Mudcat? Sigh. I am losing the will to live.


13 Oct 08 - 03:26 AM (#2464161)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Liz the Squeak

I'm pretty sure a letter addressed to Mrs Casey Music would find its way to Steve Heap, who is responsible for a great many festivals, was at one point (and may still be), chair of the Association of Festival Organisers (drop the Folk and change Directors to Organisers, I almost had it right...!).

LTS


13 Oct 08 - 07:14 PM (#2464803)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Snuffy

The Association of Festival Organisers is part of FolkArts England. Contact details can be found on the website.


14 Oct 08 - 03:19 PM (#2465579)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: VirginiaTam

If someone does contact above named group, could they please post to this thread? I would like to know what it happening on this issue?


14 Oct 08 - 03:30 PM (#2465592)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko

Is this really a disability question, or is it a gripe in general about festivals? Most festivals in the U.S. that I am aware of do put their schedules online. I can see where it would be of greater use to those with visibility or other special needs, but it seems that this would be something all organizers would want to share.


14 Oct 08 - 03:32 PM (#2465595)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko

.. by the way, many of our festivals employee the services of sign-language interpreters as well as low-power broadcast on the FM band - you can bring your portable radio and listen with a hearing device or watch the interpreter. There are also special sections for wheelchairs and such. Does this king of access happen in the UK?


14 Oct 08 - 05:15 PM (#2465655)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: VirginiaTam

Hi Ron

As an American living in UK, I can only attest that some larger events put on by borough or county councils typically do a better job at accessibility. Or at least give lip service to making event accessible to all.

I think the problem is this. Where ever and in whatever formats events (large or small) are advertised there seems to be a lack of regard as to how "everyone" can access the information. The event itself may be perfect at meeting all needs on the site and on the day. But if a person with specific needs cannot find the info they need in the first place they find it difficult to make plans and decisions about what they want to do and how to go about doing it.

Also one must consider that public transport is not always ideal for those with physical and visual impairments. Heap that energy drain on top of being at an event you know little about and cannot plan for and it becomes too much like work and less like fun. I only have RA, but I want to know as much as possible about location of venues and what the terrain is like getting from site to site and what public transport there is.

We are calling for event planners to make detailed information available in a variety of formats in the first place.   This includes not only descriptions but date/time/location of acts, sessions, workshps, etc. and maps/directions to the various venues. Some can be spread miles apart on opposite side of a town or even across several villages.

As the first post in the thread suggests, full details are not being posted on websites anymore in favour of selling programmes. The big events put on by councils are just as guilty. I understand that this helps to defray the costs of fesitivals. However there should be contact info on the page where people with visual impairment can request an electronic copy of programme in a format they can access through SpeakEasy or other screen reader equipment.

The question now is how do we get them to do it.


15 Oct 08 - 12:03 AM (#2465924)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Peace

Inform them.

Get a performer or two to address it from the stage if that fails.


15 Oct 08 - 03:20 AM (#2465990)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Liz the Squeak

Council run events are usually better at being DDA compliant, because they have to be by law (Disability and Discrimination Act). Obviously, it is impossible to make every single event accessible by every single person, but they do their best. If they cannot be accessed by certain needs groups, then it must be clearly displayed on the publicity, the tickets, the site or in the programme.

Public buildings - including pubs, restaurants, health centres, theatres*, local and national government offices all have to be DDA compliant. This means there must be adequate facilities provided for wheelchair users, deaf, blind and special needs customers. At the moment, these facilities just have to be provided. I know of at least 2 government buildings where a ramped fire escape on the ground floor for wheelchair exits is reached by going up a large step, and where the disabled car park spaces have no wheelchair access to the building other than the goods lift on the opposite side of the car park. However, the facilities are there so the building is considered DDA compliant!

When an organisiation is used to thinking inclusively, it is easier for them to do it. Until someone points out the deficits in their arrangements to the organisation, they often do not realise there are deficits.

I'm sure that if you approached the AFO in a polite and informative way, they would be only too happy to amend their websites and provide 'speaking programmes' for partially sighted users or loops for hearing aid users (although that's not usually a problem when you can hear Bellowhead playing on site 2, down in the pub garden at Towersey).

LTS

*Listed buildings (which so many of our theatres are) are only required to modify as much as will not destroy the fabric or character of the building. Oddly enough, churches/places of worship are the one public building that are not required to be DDA compliant.... go figure!


15 Oct 08 - 03:28 AM (#2465995)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: Peace

Folks will be 'healed' when they depart.


15 Oct 08 - 01:04 PM (#2466425)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: VirginiaTam

Snerk. How do they get "in" in the first place to receive that glory halleluia.


15 Oct 08 - 04:47 PM (#2466632)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: VirginiaTam

sorry- recovering Southern Baptist
do ya dunk em once?
do ya dunk em twice?
or do ya hold em under until they really repent?


17 Oct 08 - 02:17 PM (#2468450)
Subject: RE: Fest sites no help to visually impaired?
From: VirginiaTam

refresh