State of Access Report 2016 - Infographics Breakdown
Posted on 24.02.2016
We commissioned a series of infographics for the State of Access Report to highlight what we felt were the most striking statistics from our mystery shopping data and online survey of access information. In this article, we break the infographic down into individual graphics, and share some of the context behind the statistics.
The point we wanted to raise with the first graphic is that there is a significant number of venues and festivals that provide no access information for Deaf and disabled people. This leads to many avoidable consequences, including in many cases the loss of an important audience demographic.
We know that people simply do not go to events if they cannot find access information. In a survey of Deaf and disabled people that we carried out in the North East in 2015, 60% of respondents said that they had been put off considering events they would otherwise have loved to have gone to because of a lack of access information, therefore lowering their confidence that basic access requirements had been anticipated by organisers.
The second graphic is designed to demonstrate the fact that even when access information is provided, it is often severely lacking in detail. The ‘poor’ rating translates to information comprising of only 1-2 lines of text and perhaps an email address to find out more.
These graphics illustrate the differences found between venues and festivals. The lower percentage for all venues vs festivals is largely influenced by the fact that only 31% of independent venues surveyed provided access information. In contrast, our survey of Ents24 top music venues found that 76% provided some access-related information.
Regarding the stark difference between independent venues and festivals, in the report we suggest that there might be more of a culture of small festivals looking to larger and more established rivals and seeking to emulate the website provision offered, whereas small venues, with their perhaps increased reliance on social media platforms, might be more likely to overlook website improvements.
Despite the fact that the majority of mystery shopped venues and festivals offered some access information, only 38% of our mystery shoppers were able to find out everything they felt they needed from venue and festival websites.
Access information is only fit for purpose if it is comprehensive. If it is hard to find, it may as well not exist. This can cause anxiety and inconvenience for potential Deaf and disabled customers. It forces people to seek information via other means, creating additional and often unnecessary customer enquiries and admin for organisers. It also gets things off to a bad start customer service-wise, and indeed as pointed out above, leads many people to simply give up on events if information is not forthcoming:
I have avoided buying tickets for some venues due to lack of access info on their websites and access email addresses and phone lines not being answered.
This graphic demonstrates that this basic reasonable adjustment is still not offered at significant numbers of venues and festivals. PA ticket schemes are essential to enable people who might require the support of another person (or more than one person) in order to attend a gig or festival. Recently settled discrimination cases support the argument for PA tickets being a non-negotiable means for providing an equal service according to the Equality Act. All Charter venues and festivals provide PA ticket schemes.
This graphic clearly shows the disparity between different sizes of venues when it comes to describing accessible parking. There is no reason why venues of any size cannot signpost customers to the nearest Blue Badge and accessible parking locations, even if there is no dedicated parking available. Any venue can research their local vicinity and provide simple guidance regarding parking that demonstrates a commitment to welcoming disabled people.
With this graphic, we wanted to demonstrate the fact that many venues are missing an opportunity to put themselves on the map when it comes to enabling disabled people to make informed choices about the accessible venues available to them. The presence of an accessible toilet was advertised by 61% of venues, whilst mystery shoppers reported that 88% of venues had one or more available on the night. This disparity shows how important it is for venues to provide comprehensive access information that shows off what they have to offer.
This graphic provides an example of a positive trend, whilst at the same time showing that a majority of venues still do not provide lowered bars.
Implementing a lowered bar is an example of an access improvement that can be achieved simply by looking again at a space with accessibility in mind and implementing a policy. Customer service provided by staff is also integral to providing an inclusive and equal experience. In the best scenarios, physical adaptations and customer service go hand-in-hand, making a significant difference to a customer’s experience:
[The bar] had a lower counter and the young woman who served me was really helpful. She stretched out the card reader so I could hold it and use it and interacted with me directly and exclusively instead of my friends. Up to that point, I was starting to feel invisible.
This graphic was included to highlight the 1/5 of camping festivals not offering accessible camping, whilst at the same time recognising that the majority do.
We focused the text on those that don’t because for many disabled people, a festival lacking these facilities prevents them from being able to attend. We want all camping festivals to consider how they can make the camping experience as accessible as possible, so that no festival is turning people away:
I wanted to go to a festival with my friends this year, but there was no information about access on the website. I contacted them to ask if there would be any charging or disabled access facilities on the campsite and their response was no, so I couldn’t go.
The final graphic is intended to get people thinking about viewing provision in venues.
Having access to a sightline is a basic requirement for the majority of Deaf and disabled live music attendees. These facilities cater not only for wheelchair users, but for many other people that may require the option to sit or stand and lean on something, an elevated position to gain better audio clarity, or a sheltered position away from crowds.
For many venues, a viewing area might be a more realistic solution. However, it is crucial for viewing areas to be planned and stewarded as seriously as a viewing platform would be. In many cases viewing platforms or areas, whilst present, may be not fit for purpose due to their physical build and location, and/or poor staffing.