Art for everybody
We’ve always been proud of designing beautiful, accessible sites. But this was the first time accessibility was our primary motivation.
The internet is a pretty inhospitable place for people with a disability. It doesn't matter if you have an intellectual, physical or sensory disability, most websites only ever cater to the mainstream – and the ones that don't aren't always the most exciting to use.
For Arts Access Victoria, we worked within the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to deliver something that doesn’t look ‘WCAG’, but still adheres to the most strict components of the standards.
We designed a site that not only served its users better, but could also be used as an example of what is possible in designing for disability.
Art for every body
Arts Access Victoria is an Australian community organisation that connects the vibrant Victorian arts industry with people with disability. It provides cultural development programs for more than 1300 people with disability, professional development for artists with disability, and advocacy within the industry and society.
Their website needed to not only showcase the work being done by the organisation, but provide accessibility-specific events listings for the public as well as a platform for artists to speak to the world (and sell their work).
Community organisations are built on passion and purpose; it was always going to be important to design with them, not at them.
We held several collaborative workshops, from identifying requirements and features, to deciding on brand directions.
The team at Arts Access includes people with disability, each of whom added to the process by reflecting on their lived experiences and contributed to the creative process.
We designed and tested the experience with people with different disabilities, including people with visual impairments as well as physical and intellectual disability.
Making accessibility beautiful
We had to deliver a digital brand that did justice to the purpose and achievements of Arts Access.
The experience had to be about surfacing relevant events and encouraging engagement and participation.
Importantly it was also about their profound relationship with and belief in art.
Our design elevates the art and the artists. Rather than just providing access to an experience, it is part of the experience.
Accessible and delightful
Creating something ‘beyond the AAA standard' was front of mind at every step of the way. This meant being deliberate about everything from the language we used, to the layout of pages, the code structure, and the colour contrasts.
Beyond the visual, we carefully designed an experience to suit users with a screen reader. Our developers ran user testing sessions with vision impaired participants specifically targeting and improving this experience.
The site launched on February 17th, 2016.
The Arts Access team and their community have embraced their new site. The site is a key part of their service offering, which does justice to their purpose and better supports their day-to-day operation.
In the initial weeks after launch we’ve seen a 29.90% increase in sessions and users, and a 57.83% rise in pageviews.