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This document describes the decisions and challenges we faced creating both the print and digital version of the ‘Slow emergency siren, ongoing’ publication. To access the different sections of the Notes on the Design, click the menu button in the top right corner.

Daly & Lyon were invited by Sarah Hayden to engage in a three-way consultation process with herself and the UK Association for Accessible formats (UKAAF) to create a maximally accessible publication as both a printed book and a website.

‘Slow emergency siren, ongoing’ (LUX, 2022) documents the process of making the 1980s film, ‘Handsworth Songs’, more and differently accessible. It contains translations of the film’s sound into captions and translations of its images into audio descriptions, as well as essays and reflections on the film and its translations. This publication has been designed to fully comply with UKAAF’s MS03 and G003 guidelines. Where possible we have gone beyond the minimum standards. References in the footnotes direct users to these guidelines as well as to those of the international standards offered in the WCAG 2.2 Web Accessibility Guidelines.

The printed book needed to be primarily accessible by low vision readers but also to be a well-crafted and designed object. Because ‘Slow emergency siren, ongoing’ was about devising creative, aesthetically sensitive and user-led approaches to access in art, it was important that the design reflected this. We carefully considered typefaces, hierarchy, layout, user experience and production to create an object that can be accessed comfortably by a wide range of readers.

We worked alongside An Endless Supply to build a website which is fully accessible by low vision and blind users listening via a screen reader, as well as being engaging and accessible for other users. Customised accessibility functions allow users to change the font from sans-serif to serif, increase and decrease font size, line height and word spacing to allow comfortable reading. The background can be changed to reduce contrast and overall brightness, as well as changing the site’s highlight colours. The website remembers users’ preferences for the next time they visit but importantly does not override a users preconfigured settings. The site can be navigated by screen reader, keyboard or mouse.

‘Notes on the design’ has been designed with the same accessibility features as the publication’s website.

We are keen to receive feedback on all aspects of the design via our contact form at:

Edited by Sarah Hayden
Design by Daly & Lyon
Web development by An Endless Supply

Thanks to Louise Hickman and Roger Firman.

Slow Emergency Siren: Notes on the Design is produced as part of Voices in the Gallery, with support from the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council).