10 Tips on Making Concert Venues Accessible for Blind and Visually Impaired People

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re all well.

I’m rather excited about today’s post, it is a collaboration with RightHear. RightHear is an accessibility solution for blind and visually impaired people, enabling them to be as independent as possible.

 

I am a huge concert lover (and a bit of a fangirl) so when Right Hear asked me to collaborate with them on a post on ways that concert venues can be made accessible for blind and visually impaired people I wanted to get involved straight away! Concert venues can often present accessibility issues and barriers for disabled people and I thought that listing some of the tips of how they can be made accessible may raise awareness of this.

So, without further ado, here are 10 tips on making concert venues accessible for blind and visually impaired people or those with other disabilities.

  1. Provide access information

Information on accessibility of the venue should be on your website, making it easy for disabled people to access should they wish. This should also be easy to navigate to and not buried somewhere deep within your website. Disabled people often have to plan their visit in advance, so this is vital. This information may include: how to book accessible tickets, where disabled seating is located in the venue, contact details for the designated disabled access officer (if appropriate), location of disabled parking and how to book this, location of disabled toilets, details of assistance for people with guide dogs, wheelchairs, or other mobility aids and any other necessary information.

One other idea is to have a specific contact number for disabled customers, making it easier for them to call should they need to. This is also extremely handy when booking accessible tickets.

As I am blind myself, accessibility information is something that I will always look for on the website, even before booking tickets. I will often contact the venue beforehand to check the best way to book accessible tickets if it is not stated on the website, and see if they are willing to accommodate..

2. Have various ways of booking accessible tickets

Often, the only way of booking accessible tickets is over the phone. This may not be possible for some people, so have other ways of them being able to book them such as online or in person. Make sure that these ways are accessible, for example, having the booking office in an accessible place.

3. Train your staff

One of the most important aspects of making concert venues accessible is to train your staff; this may be in sighted guiding, communication strategies, disability, or visual awareness training, but it is important for them to have adequate training. It is very noticeable and easy, for disabled people to tell which staff have, and which staff have not had visual awareness training. Friendly, patient, understanding and helpful staff make the experience much more positive. It’s also important to allocate staff on events to assist disabled people to their seats, answer any questions and provide support if needed.

4. Ensure that staff are knowledgeable about the venue and the local area

Staff should be able to help disabled people with any queries that they may have about the venue, and also being able to answer any questions that they may have on the local area, such as getting to places, finding the train station, or ordering a taxi.

5. Consider orientation and mobility needs

Navigating an unknown venue can be extremely difficult for blind and visually impaired people. Offering assistance for visitors with a visual impairment is invaluable.

Also have braille and large print signs or maps, making it accessible for blind and visually impaired people to read and access. It is also important that this is in plain text (with no arrows or graphics), as it is easier for blind and visually impaired people to read. They should also be in the same places on doors, then they are easy to find, especially for people relying on braille. After all, independence is key.

6. Have space for disabled seating

This may seem obvious, but many venues do not cater for disabled people and do not have enough seating or wheelchair space. It’s important to have as less of obstruction as possible in venues, making it easier for disabled people to navigate, especially those in a wheelchair or blind and visually impaired people using a cane or guide dog. It is also important to have specific seating reserved for disabled people and their companion in a good viewing location. If it is an outdoor venue, then a viewing platform may be a good idea.

7. Have adequate lighting

This might not be possible during the concert, where flashing lights and contrast are more up to the artist than the venue, it certainly can be considered outside of where the actual music or performance is taking place. When planning lighting in your hallways or in the actual auditorium, consider keeping things on the brighter side so that visitors can navigate around the venue when they’re not at their seats. In addition to accessible lighting, it is also important to have coloured contrast railings, tactile markings on floors leading to stairs and also easy lift access for those with less vision or other mobility needs.

8. Provide large print, high-contrast, braille, electronic or audio formats of materials when possible

This includes menus, event programs, or any other literature you may have. Although putting literature into such formats may seem expensive, it doesn’t have to be. Even if it is, providing these materials is a long-term investment that will not only support customers who are blind or visually impaired, but may also be useful for customers with other disabilities or those that are elderly. Accessibility means equal opportunities for all, and almost always has benefits to your business.

9. Have specific, accessible features such as audio description or touch tours

Audio description is a narration/description of exactly what is going on. Audio description allows blind and visually impaired people to listen to a description through a set of headphones while still being engaged in the show or performance. This promotes accessibility, equality and independence as blind and visually impaired people know what is happening themselves, rather than relying on their companion to tell them. This may not be possible for all shows such as concerts, but it can be implemented for events such as theatre shows/performances or sporting events.

Touch tours are when a blind or visually impaired person gets to go onto the stage before a performance to get a feel for the environment and touch the props, costumes, set, and more. This really sets the scene for blind or visually impaired people and can give them a better understanding of the show. Like audio description, this may not be possible for all events, but where possible, this is a worthwhile consideration that also promotes equality and accessibility.

10. Speak to disabled visitors about their experience

Liaising with disabled people about their experience gives you detailed information on what you need to improve on, what works well and what doesn’t and gives you an insight into their experience. You can use this feedback for future improvements or developments. By gathering feedback from disabled visitors shows that you have a keen interest in making your venue accessible and it also shows you are willing to support disabled visitors to the best of your ability. You could do this by having a review section on your website, using social media or even a short, simple questionnaire.

 

Useful links

There are some very useful links that may be of interest: Attitude is Everything – improves Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists, and the music industry. Festival Spirit – a charity which provides a safe and fun way of disabled people being able to access festivals. They provide “buddies” who are non-disabled volunteers who accompany disabled people at festivals. They also provide accessible accommodation. Euan’s Guide – disabled access reviews, by disabled people, for disabled people.

 

That concludes today’s post, those are just some of the tips that can be used in order to make concert venues accessible for blind and visually impaired people, or those with other disabilities.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post and that it is of use to some of you! Feel free to share it with people that you think it may be of use to.

As always, thank you for reading.

Holly x

 

Disclaimer: although this post is a collaboration, all views are my own. I only work with brands and organisations that support my message and the aims of my blog.

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Helping Blind/VI People During The Festive Season

Hello everyone,

Welcome back to Life of a Blind Girl, I hope you’re all well and prepared for the festive period.

I’ve wanted to do a Christmassy post for a few weeks now but still wanted it to relate to disability so I thought it might be quite interesting to give you a few tips on how to make Christmas fully accessible for blind and visually impaired people. This is the first Christmas post that I’ve ever done on my blog! It’s part of mine and Elin’s seeing through sight loss series so if you’re new to the series then you can find everything you need to know about it and our previous posts here.

In this post we wanted to share some tips on how to make Christmas fully accessible for blind and visually impaired people and how to help us a helping hand during the festive period. We’re not saying that these tips will work for everyone, or that you have to use them and we are in no means saying that we personally use them all but we wanted to share them in the hope that it might help some of you as a bit of a guide at this time of year. There are many ways to make the festive period accessible and we couldn’t cover everything, we know that everyone is different but here are a few tips that we thought some of you may find of use.

So without further ado let’s get into today’s post!

The first way in which you can make Christmas accessible is by brailling or writing a large print message in Christmas cards.

However, it can often be difficult for sighted people to braille Christmas cards themselves, especially if they do not know braille but there are places that sell braille cards, these can often be found online. If you would like to try to braille your own Christmas card for a blind and vision impaired person there are braille guides online to help you with this. If you are interested in brailling a card yourself, it may be a good idea to make the message a bit shorter as braille is larger than print.

To write your cards in large print for vision impaired people, it’s a good idea to write them using a chunky pen on a white or yellow background.

For blind and visually impaired people, brailling or writing large print Christmas cards can be a fun activity to send to other blind or visually impaired friends or family.

By doing this, it means that the blind or visually impaired person can read the cards themselves independently.

 

The next tip is to Label gifts in a format that’s accessible for a blind or visually impaired person. This can be a huge help! You can braille the gift tag, write it in large print or use something such as a penfriend labeller or the ORCam to label the gifts and create a spoken label. These two devices are not a necessity so don’t worry if you don’t own one of them!

 

The third way in which sighted people can help blind or visually impaired people at Christmas is Brailling or putting large print numbers on advent calendars. It can be impossible for totally blind people to find the correct door on an advent calendar and very hard for those with low vision to see the written numbers so doing this makes it fully accessible. It’s also a way of promoting independence and it also makes the blind or visually impaired person equal to those with sight. If a blind or visually impaired person would like to do this, it means that they will more than likely need sighted assistance at first in order to stick the numbers on the correct doors but it can be a fun activity, especially for children. I used to love doing this when I was younger! If you don’t really have the time to do this, you can also buy tactile advent calendars which are often accessible for blind or visually impaired people.

 

My final idea in making Christmas fully accessible for blind and visually impaired people is purchasing accessible games. We all play games at Christmas right? You can get well known games or new ones in both braille or large print from many places so it’s fun, inclusive and accessible for everyone.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and found it useful! Make sure you check out Elin’s post to read her tips on making Christmas accessible for blind and visually impaired.

I would just like to wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Holly x

Accessible Apps For Blind And Visually Impaired People

Hello everyone,

Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you so much for all the feedback on my last post, it’s the most amount of feedback that I’ve had and it really means so much to me, keep it coming! I thought I’d do a blog post on the apps that I use on my iPhone, iPad and iPod, some of them are especially made for blind and visually impaired people and others are just normal apps. I hope you enjoy this post!

 

Apps for blind and visually impaired people:

Tap Tap See

This app helps blind and visually impaired people recognise objects and oher things, for example tins of fruit or books.

Cam Find

This app is a low budget version of Tap Tap See.

KNFB Reader

This app is like a ClearReader, you can scan a printed document and it uses text-to-speech software to read out loud what is on the page. For example, it will read letters/menus.

Prizmo

This  does the same thing as KNFB Reader but it is a lot cheaper. Despite the price difference it is still great.

Voice Dream Reader

With this app you can import word documents, pdf documents etc and it uses text-to-speech software to read them out loud. I use this for reading books for university all the time.

Voice Dream Writer

This app helps you proofread essays and anything else, it is also great for helping you structure essays.

LookTel Money Reader

This app identifies money, if you’re like me and rubbish at identifying money it is great for telling you which is a £5 note or a £20 note etc.

VIA

This is a good app directory for accessible games etc.

Ariadne GPS

This is a GPS app for blind and visually impaired people. It helps you navigate places, save routes and so much more.

BlindSquare GPS

This is the same as Ariadne GPS, it does have some differences and some similarities. It can help you identify travel, restaurants, shops and uses Google maps/Apple maps to help you navigate to a particular place.

RNIB Overdrive

This app was created by the RNIB, it allows blind and partially sighted users to access talking books, podcasts and so much more from the RNIB library using the app or from the website on a PC.

Selfiex

Allows blind and visually impaired people to take selfies.

 

Other apps that I use:

National rail

This app tells you what stops you are at and it also tells you train times.

The Train Line

This allows you to book tickets and is accessible with VoiceOver.

Bus checker

This app tells you what bus is coming next at a bus stop.

 Pages

It allows you to write documents. It also comes with a range of templates, for example CV or letter templates which are really useful.

Kindle

It allows you to read books from Amazon’s Kindle website using VoiceOver. The app is fully accessible with VoiceOver.

Audible

It gives you access to Amazon’s audible website that has a huge range of audiobooks. It is also fully accessible with VoiceOver.

Twitter

This is a social networking website.

Instagram

You may be wondering how why a blind girl would want to use a photo based social networking app…I upload pictures that other people take for me.

Facebook

Again, this is a social networking website.

Google

This is a search engine.

Youtube

Allows me to watch and upload videos.

Spotify

 Allows users to listen to music from just about any genre, artist or playlist.

WhatsApp

 A great app for texting/voice messaging people.

Shazam

Identifies songs.

WordPress

I use this app to post my blog posts and read other people’s.

Netflix

Users can watch a huge range of TV shows and films. It also has audio description in a lot of its content which is great.

 

These are just a few apps that are available and also accessible for blind and visually impaired people. I know there are thousands more out there but these are the ones that I use.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any blog post suggestions please do let me know!

 

Hol x