How can I make my digital work more inclusive?

Digital projects or those using online delivery do not equate to the wholesale...

Digital projects or those using online delivery do not equate to the wholesale removal of barriers for audiences. Remote delivery can create new barriers like limited access to hardware and software technology, lack of skills and access to data (3G/4G/broadband). Projects should consider this when thinking about audiences and project risks.

It is useful for anyone creating online content to consider the digital divide when planning a project. To understand what this is start with the ONS’s data on digital exclusion. Keep in mind that 7% of UK population are still offline and 9m struggle to get online by themselves. There are clear patterns of exclusion in who is most affected by the digital divide. Older people, rural/remote communities, Scotland’s highest areas of multiple deprivation or people with disabilities can face additional barriers to access.

Understanding your audience means understanding their barriers and how you can plan for these. This should be recognised in your own risk assessment with appropriate mitigation measures.

  • Recognises the existence of and intends to adhere to w3c web accessibility guidance.
  • Marketing and engagement makes sure materials are accessible. It also make access options clear by including contact details, content notes for potential issues like: trigger warnings, stroke lighting, loud bangs.
  • Videos plan to include subtitles, BSL, captioning, audio description. Excellence looks like a creative approach to these elements making them core to the work.
  • Works in partnership with organisations that are already working to address digital divide in particular communities (solutions for access to devices, buying data, respect for channels people want to use & how to communicate in a meaningful way). A great resource for practice that already exists in the 3rd sector. The SCVO is a good place to start as they are leaders in digital participation in hard to reach/easy to ignore communities.

Make sure your budget covers the solutions you plan to implement.

Depending on your project, you may also have statutory obligations to comply with the BSL ActGaelic Language Plan and Corporate Parenting. Where this is the case, we would expect you to include plans to address these responsibilities.

Excellent practice in this space uses the social model of disability and projects that address barriers for groups with access needs. The result is projects that widen audiences and really serve people through meaningful adaptations and partnerships.