RNIB, Google and The Guardian collaborate
RNIB works with Google and The Guardian to create a one‑of-a kind adaptable online storytelling experience
Who: Google and The Guardian
What: Understand how to make content that suits everyone’s visual needs
How: Provided in depth expertise of technical and design guidance
Result: An experimental storytelling website showcasing how websites can adapt to accommodate the needs of partially sighted or blind readers
The ground-breaking project is piloted to make information more accessible. RNIB together with Google, and The Guardian launched ‘Auditorial’: an experimental storytelling website showcasing how websites can adapt to accommodate the needs of partially sighted or blind readers. Developed in seven months, the project aims to inspire other online creative publishers to generate more inclusive storytelling.
Robin Spinks and his team at RNIB has been working with Google for almost a decade; engaging in user testing, community feedback and feature suggestions, as well as advocating for greater platform accessibility on android.
“We want to showcase an approach which promotes inclusive design, and one that can engage blind and partially sighted readers from the get-go.
We’ve tried to better understand what makes a great storytelling experience. This learning has captured the importance of visual information being optimised in an agile way.”
Collaborating with the blind and partially sighted community
Google approached RNIB and the Guardian to understand how to make content that suits everyone’s visual needs. RNIB provided in depth expertise: technical and design guidance in relation to storytelling techniques, consideration of design approaches from an inclusion perspective as well as knowledge of how RNIB works with Google and The Guardian to create a one‑of-a kind adaptable online storytelling experience to best implement the new approaches and techniques.
“Collaboration with the blind and low vision community was critical from the start, and we were lucky enough to have collaborated with RNIB. The end product is very much the work of a community of people and together we crafted and refined the features on the platform now.”, says Google
The issue of inaccessible content
Google recognised that the internet has a ‘one size fits all’ approach – designed by sighted designers for sighted users.
Kate Baker, Creative Lead, Google Brand Studio in EMEA explains: “The intention is to raise awareness about how the web could become a more inclusive place for those with disabilities.”
Telling an important story in the right way
Max Sanderson, Acting Editor, Audio, at The Guardian News & Media, says “We have learned much more about accessibility and inclusive product design from RNIB during this project, and we plan to apply the skills and lessons in future. Building a website from the ground up with accessibility and inclusive design at the forefront has made us think about user experience from the point of view of blind and low-vision users.”
Inspiring a new kind of storytelling
Auditorial has received positive feedback so far.
Google says, “Our intention is for the learnings of this project to be useful for many publishers.”
Shaping future content
RNIB, Google and The Guardian continue to collate learning from the project and consider what’s next – to continue the dialogue with the blind and partially sighted community.
Google envisages this project as the start of the future of the internet: “We hope Auditorial will be one of countless steps to make the internet more inclusive and accessible.”
Robin Spinks at RNIB explains: “The project has pushed forward our thinking in terms of inclusive storytelling experiences.”