AMI-tv is a channel that serves the needs of blind and low-vision Canadians. We’ve always approached our graphics with the knowledge that some of our viewers may have difficulty reading the text and seeing the graphics on screen, but prior to 2014, we had no way to measure and assess our performance. The system of ad-hock, is this readable?, is that legible? was not sustainable, and created frustration and uncertainty for our design team. I identified our need to develop a set of standards for how we present graphics and text on-screen, that was inclusive of people with sight impairments, but who still had some level of visual acuity.
I was entering into unchartered waters. Television has always been viewed (pardon le pun) as a visual medium with the assumption being that the audience could clearly see the screen. As such, very little information was available about the creation of television graphics for a low-vision audience. Sometime prior, I had attended a workshop on web accessibility, where I was introduced to WGAG 2.0, the global standards for website accessibility. I recalled the section of the web standards that focussed on graphic accessibility, including size, contrast and fonts; this would be the starting point for our own new standards. It also defined the biggest challenge of the project, adapting the knowledge, and building upon it, to write a set of standards that enabled the greatest amount visual engagement for the audience, while still allowing designers the freedom to meet the expectations of the traditional viewer.
Improve the experience for our audience
Usable by creators and designers
Measurable where possible
And it has to still look like television
The AMI-tv On-Air Graphics Best Practices has proven to be an incredibly valuable tool. As a channel, and as designers, we now have the confidence to say that we are making every effort to ensure the greatest level of accessibility for our audience. And when questions do arise, we now have a resource that we can reference to make informed decisions on the accessibility of a design. The standards have been implemented for all original graphics that appear on both AMI-tv, and french it’s counterpart, AMI-tele. They are also shared with the producers of all original commissioned programs, to ensure accessibility throughout all show packages. The standards were a vital asset when we refreshed our on-air branding, allowing us to identify and understand the spectrum of accessible graphic design, and stay on the forefront. It was an innovation built out of necessity, that removed a cloud of uncertainty from our design team, improved the experience for our audience, and pushed forward the organizational mandate to improve the accessibility of media.
Just leave us your contact information and we’ll be in touch with a quick introductory call to establish your needs and determine the best engagement option to suit your goals and budget.