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Accessibility to Arts Venues for Disabled Users - help with wording please?

(21 Posts)
cakedup Wed 26-Nov-14 16:52:39

I am currently developing a page for a theatre company website page regarding accessibility. I have compiled a questionnaire (below) and would be super grateful if you're able to have a quick look through this. In particular, I want to make sure nothing in the questionnaire is inappropriate, badly worded, offensive, patronising etc.

I'd really appreciate your help, thank you!

Questionnaire re accessibility to arts venues in London

Are you registered disabled?
Please could you describe your disability?
Do you use a wheelchair?

Which of the following do you enjoy (tick all that apply)?
Any other public venues? Please list:

Do you mostly use:
Public Transport
Own vehicle

Have you ever been unable to attend an event or venue because of limited accessibility? Please give details.
Where do you get your information regarding accessibility? (tick all that apply)
Recommendations/Word of mouth?
Looking on individual websites?
Contacting venues directly?
Other websites (please list):
Other publications (please list):

And which is your preferred method?
Recommendations/Word of mouth?
Looking on individual websites?
Contacting venues directly?
Other websites (please list):
Other publications (please list):

What is the most important thing for you, with regards to accessibility?
I am trying to compile a website page on accessibility facilities for a theatre venue in London. Do you have any advice for me?
I would be very grateful for any feedback on the web page once it is completed. Please enter your email address if you can help. (Your email wil not be used for any other purpose).

PausingFlatly Wed 26-Nov-14 16:58:26

What do you mean by "registered disabled"?

I'm disabled but have never understood this phrase - I don't know of any register I should be on.

cakedup Wed 26-Nov-14 17:04:19

Pausing, don't you need to be registered in order to get certain types of help/benefits, disabled parking etc? I'm sure I have heard the phrase "are you registered disabled" - so I assumed you could be?

cakedup Wed 26-Nov-14 17:07:18

I've just seen this “Registered disabled” is a bit of a misleading term . Well that's the first very useful and necessary bit of information I needed to know, so thanks for that Pausing.

PausingFlatly Wed 26-Nov-14 17:09:56

What's the thing you're actually trying to find out with this questionnaire?

Is it about wheelchair access? Or is it about accessibility in general?

If the latter, you'll get a broader picture of needs if you ask an open question, eg, "Is there anything particular you need to make our venue accessible to you? For example, do you need step-free access, or an induction loop in the theatre?"

Although surely there are just best practice guides you could follow, without having to reinvent the wheel?

So for some people, accessibility might simply be having enough toilet facilities - but one could hardly describe that as a special need without making it sound like the rest of your customers are expected to do without...

PausingFlatly Wed 26-Nov-14 17:12:29

There used to be an organisation that provided projected surtitles for death people at theatres. Is that the sort of thing you're after?

cakedup Wed 26-Nov-14 17:26:00

Sorry, yes, I should have made that clear. I am an intern at a theatre company as part of my degree. The theatre do not have any information on their website with regards to accessibility i.e. size of doorways for wheelchair users, step free access, height of bar etc. I will also include information regarding transport/parking for disabled customers wanting to get to the theatre. The survey is a little unnecessary, in that I can just include any details of any accessibility the theatre has. But I need to include extra research as it's necessary for my degree!

PausingFlatly Wed 26-Nov-14 17:26:10

I don't think it's offensive necessarily, but many of the questions seem irrelevant. These are the thoughts that would come into my head if I'd been given your questionnaire:

– Why do you care whether I like pubs?

– Does it matter how I currently get my information? If there's no website I can't use a website, so may have to rely on word of mouth. But if there was a website I would use that BUT what difference does it make to you? What will you do differently, if I go to the trouble of answering that Q on your questionnaire?

PausingFlatly Wed 26-Nov-14 17:34:47

Perhaps your research could start with looking up existing publications on accessibility and surveying your building to see where it matches up. You can also research what other organisations have included on their sites, and that will give you an idea of what to include on yours.

As a member of the public who doesn't actually want to spend any more of my life than I already do "educating" people, I wouldn't help with a survey asking the bleedin' obvious.

What you're doing including the info on the website is useful, though. But I don't need widths of doorways unless they're a) narrow and b) I really need to use them.

PausingFlatly Wed 26-Nov-14 17:41:24

For me the best question you've asked is:
"Have you ever found it difficult to attend an event or venue because of limited accessibility? Please give details."

[I've changed the wording, because sometimes a hack can be found so that one can attend with a lot of bother, but the hassle discourages attendance.]

PausingFlatly Wed 26-Nov-14 17:52:54

Sorry, I don't mean any of your questions ask the bleedin' obvious. But that any use you could make of the info encompasses the bleedin' obvious.

Eg Should you put info on the website? Yes.
Should you have step-free access? Yes.
Should you have adequate toilets? Yes.
Should you have an induction loop where necessary? Yes.
Should you have provision for nearby car drop-off? Yes

You don't need to ask. And since you're degree level rather than a primary school child, I wouldn't put myself out - and patronise you - by doing the Q.

QueenofWhatever Wed 26-Nov-14 18:37:47

Disability is much more than being in a wheelchair. I can no longer go to gigs because I can't stand up for that long. I wish venues could arrange for people like me to have a chair, but they can't get their heads round that.

I think more open questions are better. Many people have sensory disturbances as part of their conditions. Flashing lights is the obvious one, but noise levels etc. make a big difference.

Also I have what are called invisible disabilities. I look well and 'normal', which can in a way make it harder to ask for adjustments.

Attitude is Everything are a great organisation. I'd have a look at their site or ask their advice.

theDudesmummy Wed 26-Nov-14 18:46:56

Yes I would strongly agree with dropping the "registered disabled" bit, it suggests if you are disabled you should be on some kind of list to prove it. MY Ds is definitely disabled, I don't whether he is "registered" though. He has a blue badge and gets DLA, does that make him "registered", or is there some other list I don't know about.....see what I mean.

cakedup Wed 26-Nov-14 22:15:44

Thanks so much for your feedback everyone.

I certainly don't want to ask more questions than necessary, otherwise it's just a waste of time for person filling it in. Or they may even be put off filling it in altogether.

Pausing you've really made me think about why I'm asking the questions. I need to compile a report for the theatre company as well as making the web page itself. I suppose the purpose of asking if you like pubs etc, is because I am trying to target disabled people who go to public venues, as they have the experience I am interested in. And so that I can say "10 out of 20 people who liked going to pubs had problems with accessibility". I'm asking about mode of transport to justify why I am including info on the website about nearby disabled parking/step free public transport access. However....I guess I shouldn't have to justify any of it. Accessibility for all should be available without a need to question it.

– Does it matter how I currently get my information? I'm asking this because the manager of the theatre said she'd never seen a wheelchair user come to their theatre. I wondered why...and perhaps to justify how useful the web page will be. And so that I can perhaps contact any organisations mentioned afterwards (there are some websites that list all London theatres and their accessibility info, for example).

Perhaps your research could start with looking up existing publications on accessibility and surveying your building to see where it matches up. You can also research what other organisations have included on their sites, and that will give you an idea of what to include on yours. I have done all this Pausing. To be honest, I don't think this survey is completely necessary for the theatre, more for my degree to show I've done my best to research. You are right about the bleedin' obvious though so will have re-think. That is very useful and relevant, thank you.

QueenofWhatever I hear what you're saying, and I was thinking to put something on the website along those lines of, "if you have any additional needs that we may not be aware of, please let us know. We are happy to make adjustments" something like that. I went to Brixton Academy when I was heavily pregnant once and got to sit in the VIP/Disabled area. It was fantastic - great view, no crowds and seating! Re 'sensory disturbances' - I'm not sure what can be done about that. Most performances will have something that might be disturbing, but that is down to the artist.

And yes, I'm dropping the 'registered' disabled bit. I'm surprised at how often it crops up - and find it quite offensive now! It's as ridiculous as saying "and are you registered abled?"

PausingFlatly Wed 26-Nov-14 22:43:06

Dear lord, I've just re-read my own posts.blush

Adjustments for "death people" might be taking it a little far... grin

Purplevicki Wed 26-Nov-14 22:52:47

How about asking 'do you consider yourself to have a disability?'

I find that less intrusive and negative than asking if someone is registered disabled.

PausingFlatly Wed 26-Nov-14 23:06:08

Just ask if people need any particular assistance to use the building or attend performances

As you've said, you could do with assistance when pregnant, and a lot of people won't qualify themselves as disabled when it's something temporary like that. But you'd still like them to be able to attend.

It's also much less invasive and also more useful to ask what assistance someone needs, than to ask them to describe their disability.

PausingFlatly Wed 26-Nov-14 23:18:26

To be honest, I'm quite uncomfortable with you using disabled people as lab rats to benefit your mark in your degree - unless you make sure they know the questionnaire is for your benefit not theirs.

If your questionnaire were actually going to improve facilities, that would be one thing. But we spend our lives having to share private details with strangers, from HCPs who may or not be doing anything useful, to the DWP, to JobCentre clerks who think it's appropriate to discuss incontinence, cognitive problems and vulnerability in front of a hall full of people signing on.

Asking a stranger "describe your disability" to get you better marks...

I'd feel fucked off and betrayed if I'd been exhausted and unwell anyway, but had put myself to the effort of answering your questionnaire, believing that I was making another little sacrifice but for a greater good... only to find it was for your degree mark.

cakedup Wed 26-Nov-14 23:35:20

Thanks Purplevicki that's a much better phrase!

Pausing I would clearly state it was for a web page I was developing, for a theatre company, as part of my degree. But yes, you do bring up a good point and I was aware of it. However, I could have decided to do my project on anything. It was only because a lady emailed the theatre company in disgust because there was no accessibility info on the website. I knew her disgust was completely justified and wanted to do something about it. In doing my research, I am learning quite a lot, and people like myself who don't encounter these difficulties and take these things for granted, need to be educated. Disability and the Arts is part of my degree. If I do end up working for an Arts venue, I would certainly find this information useful and would use it if necessary (i.e. if I felt the building could be more accessible or have the info on their web page).

I am a 42 year old cynical old thing, not the naive people pleasing person I used to be. In many of my projects I have sacrificed a good mark for doing a better project. (I got my lowest mark - scraped a 2:1 - for doing a dyslexia awareness project. That's because their criteria is ridiculous. But it was a bloody successful project!).

You're right, I'm scrapping the 'describe your disability' bit. It's not essential and it's invasive. Thanks for that perspective. I am having doubts about the survey to be honest. Perhaps I can extend it to carers, people who know someone with a disability...?

cakedup Wed 26-Nov-14 23:36:56

And yes, I think it's a little to late to help 'death people' smile

cakedup Thu 27-Nov-14 12:13:08

Although I think 'using disabled people as lab rats' is a little strong, after a lot of thought I've decided to scrap the survey. I will just develop the web page and ask for feedback then. Thanks for all your help!

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