Improving online storytelling for blind and low vision readers

It’s a fact that we all enjoy a good story, right? Human beings consume storytelling like nothing else. From daily news articles, to movies, music and books, we are voracious consumers of stories. Through them, we make sense of ourselves and our place in the world. We articulate our experiences, share them and connect with others through them.  So what if those stories weren’t easy to access?

What if there were blockers that stood between you and the news, and storytelling, which help you make sense of the world? 

That’s the reality for 300 million blind and low vision readers, for whom it can be challenging to access even basic news headlines online, due to the inaccessibility of website designs.

All websites should adhere to accessibility standards, but the vast majority (97% of homepages) do not. Even when accessibility guidelines are followed, there’s a big difference between creating a website that’s accessible for assistive technologies, and enjoyable human storytelling for blind and low vision readers.

The question is: How do we create online content that is genuinely engaging for everyone, whether you rely on your sight, or not?

That’s the question we set out to answer with Auditorial — an experiment in storytelling that adapts to suit the reader, co-created by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), The Guardian and Google.