Auditorial launched to bring a new way of accessible storytelling to life

Screenshot of the Auditorial website homepage

RNIB has teamed up with the Guardian and Google to launch a brand-new experimental storytelling website on 20 May 2021. 

Marking the start of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), the website, called Auditorial, is a pilot which introduces an immersive way for people with sight loss to experience online stories, articles and news. 

If accessibility is not considered in digital contents and projects, up to two million blind and partially sighted people in the UK, and a reported 300 million people worldwide, could miss out on important information and engaging content.

Auditorial brings together the different elements of good storytelling – the content, the design and the sound – and hosts them in one place for a more immersive and comprehensive experience. The website can be customised, allowing blind and partially sighted viewers to tailor the experience to their needs. Font size, colour contrast and background sound can all be adjusted.

At launch, Auditorial tells the story of The Silent Spring by Bernie Krause, featuring vivid descriptions and recordings of the impact of environmental destruction on ecosystems. 

David Clarke, Director of Services for RNIB, said: “Far too many websites are not accessible. For people who use assistive technology like a screen reader or screen magnifier, the frustration of not being able to use or navigate a website is all too common. At best, it’s an unnecessary annoyance, but at worst, it can mean feeling locked out of key information and services.”

Auditorial’s partners want to prove inclusive design doesn’t have to limit creativity by using accessible design features and different ways to interact. As part of the project, an accompanying Notebook has been created for web developers which shares key findings and learnings from the project and hopes to help other online publishers make their own content more inclusive.

Our Innovation Lead, Robin Spinks, explains the platform in more detail in this article. Alternatively, listen to the story yourself and experience the accessibility of Auditorial.