• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

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LEEDS 2023 breaks down inclusion barriers to arts and culture with user-centred design

The organisers of LEEDS 2023, a year-long celebration of culture and the arts, have partnered with dxw, a Leeds-based digital agency to better understand the needs and beliefs of festival-goers. 

Specialists in designing, building and running digital public services, dxw led a discovery process to gain an understanding of the different communities that LEEDS 2023 wants to attract to its year of culture. These insights will inform the design of the festival’s website to make it more inclusive and reflective of varying needs. 

Sarah Jane Mace, Head of Experience Design at LEEDS 2023 comments, “We want to shine a light on creativity and open up more opportunities for people. But not everyone feels cultural and creative events are for them or that they have the freedom to go along, and that’s something we want to change. We see the website as a natural extension of the festival and a vehicle to breaking down barriers and making our programme of activities accessible to a truly diverse audience.” 

So far, the discovery process has identified a broad range of audiences and highlighted design features and considerations to mitigate barriers that risk preventing people from joining the year of culture. The website, for example, will feature an identifier to show how busy events are likely to be, helping those who may feel anxious about being in crowded spaces. It will also feature information on transport and parking to assist people and families with different needs when travelling to and from activities.  

Events will appear by category rather than date, helping people to more easily find activities that match their interests. There will be an option to search chronologically, but this won’t be the default setting and activities will be set at a range of price points to encourage maximum inclusivity and boost attendance.

Sarah Jane Mace, adds, “When it comes to making digital services inclusive, you should always design for those who find things difficult, because nobody will ever say it was too easy. Information must be relevant, accessible, quick to find, and easy to digest. Working with dxw, we’ve been able to learn more about the Leeds 2023 community and how we can design a website that works for everyone.”

While the LEEDS 2023 website is currently up and running, many of the enhanced design features and functionality are set to go live later this year.

Alex Nisbett, Head of Service Design at dxw, said, “Through the discovery process we’ve been able to understand how the sizeable and richly diverse audience for LEEDS 2023 defines culture.  This will help to deliver a holistic digital experience so that everybody can be connected to the festival and enjoy it.”

By admin