Prevention Matters – its ok to ask
Helping you stay independent
With the aim to support vulnerable adults, the Buckinghamshire County Council, NHS, District Councils and the Voluntary and Community sectors have devised a partnership programme to tackle exactly this.
Buckinghamshire Council’s definition of a vulnerable adult includes, “older people, adults with disabilities, those with chronic health needs, and/or poor mental health”. By supporting vulnerable individuals, the programme helps people to retain and regain their independence and sense of wellbeing.
Whilst their programme primarily targets at-risk individuals, from an agencies perspective – how do you communicate these points so it’s easily accessible and readily available for everybody?
With over 80,000 messages a day being drilled into audience’s heads, most messages are communicated visually. They break down barriers of age, gender, language, race… anything you name it. Think of a stop sign. Realistically unless you’ve been living under a rock for your whole life, you should be able to visually imagine it. Red means to stop. Green means go. Yellow for happiness.
ArtBinder is another company changing the way we search. This week they released their newest feature, ‘ColorSearch’. This tool allows users to search for works of art, simply by selecting their colour.
So what are the first steps you need to take when designing for accessibility?
You first need to understand the audience you’re designing for. What are the key areas of information they need to gather from your campaign?
And especially, what are the obstacles to grasping your messages? Does your audience have physical hindrances? What about their inner feelings and connotations towards your brand messages?
Research your audiences trigger and pain-points. Gather these and then design with them in mind.
What are the main things to be aware of as a designer?
Keep in mind how your campaign will be perceived. Don’t use any aggressive or offensive imagery (if this wasn’t already obvious).
[Tweet “Always remember you’re designing an aesthetically pleasing campaign, but practical functionality is the main aim so don’t let your personal design preferences get in the way.”]
Why choose certain colours?
If placing text on top of a designed background, you’ll need to use dark colours on top of a white background or vice versa. The text has to be legible and typeface needs to be clear, spaced out, and keep the characters distinguishable.
We used dark colours: greys, dark blues and purple – to emulate a storm cloud. Associated with melancholily and negativity, we used these to connect with an audience who can resonate with feeling this way. This was then contrasted with positive oranges, yellow and pinky-peach tones to emphasise the journey from negativity towards a positive mentality.
How did this work when designing Prevention Matters – Buckinghamshire Councils campaign?
The first steps were to address the issues Buckinghamshire Council faced the first time they ran this campaign. By using stock-style images of happy, smiling people, audiences who felt vulnerable or depressed were unable to relate. It showed the solution, but not the problem.
Instead, we had to focus on the problems our audiences were facing and communicate these in order for people to relate.
Rather than presenting a happy, positive solution – we wanted the audience to feel as if someone was speaking to them on a personal level. Able to understand their issues and relate to them.
Only then can you expect to resonate with an audience – when you communicate with them, on their level.
Buckinghamshire Council wanted their campaign to ‘hit home’ – to create a message which audiences could feel secure and connect with.
When taking a look at the council’s website, it was filled with case studies of people who had benefited from their scheme and their life stories. This was one of the most successful areas for the council. Why? Because people resonate with real life stories.
Looking through the materials on site, this is what we were initially drawn to. It wasn’t even a designed page on the site. Instead it was mainly text focused – revolving around people telling their stories.
So rather than making up ‘case studies’, we chose real life stories for people to connect with. We also used hand-drawn illustrations and a handwritten-style typeface to emphasise a personal touch.
Personality and a human-touch are the main areas you need to emphasise when designing for accessibility. Connect with your audiences on a personal level and they will connect with your campaign.
Buckinghamshire Mind employs 7 Community Practice Workers as part of Prevention Matters, working in Aylesbury Central, Aylesbury South (Thame & Haddenham) and High Wycombe.
What Will The Community Practice Worker Do For You?
They will listen to you and work with you to find ways that help you to:
• Remain independent in your own home
• Discover services and new activities that you might like to join. This could be, for example, sociable activities such as coffee mornings or lunch clubs, interest clubs and societies, or volunteering opportunities.
• Keep active and stay healthy
• Manage changes taking place in your life, for example following a stay in hospital or a bereavement.
How Do I Contact A Community Practice Worker?
There are several ways:
• Your GP or other Health or Social Care Professional will refer you. Your Community Practice Worker will contact you within 7 days to arrange a home visit at a time convenient to you.
• You can contact the Community Practice Worker or service direct using the contact details in this leaflet.
What Will The Community Practice Worker Do When They Visit Me?
Community Practice workers will have identification with them when they visit:
• Your Community Practice Worker will listen to you and talk through any problems or issues you are facing.
• They will find out what your interests are and let you know about local services or activities that might help you.
• Thy will arrange to visit you again if appropriate and, if you would like, the Community Practice Worker will support you with an initial visit to an activity.