Disability Discrimination Act

Virtual Tours & the DDA

There are almost 10 million disabled people in Britain, and legislation in the form of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) aims to ensure that all disabled people are given a fair deal in everyday life.

Much of the Disability Discrimination Act focuses on the duties of service providers (shops, museums, galleries, libraries, archives and so forth) to disabled users of their services. This is particularly relevant for museums and galleries, who must make reasonable adjustments and provide auxiliary aids and services to make services more accessible and comply with the law. However, a reasonable alternative is permissible in many instances where direct access isn’t possible, and a virtual tour is an excellent way of fulfilling this brief, giving users an alternative way of finding and manipulating information.

Eye Revolution has worked with several organisations to provide virtual tours which enable compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act.

Case Study: The Canal Museum, London

The Canal Museum in Kings Cross, London have a Victorian Narrowboat as part of their collection. The limited space inside the boat meant that people with mobility issues were not able to see inside the boat. The boat itself as an item of historical interest could not be altered to meet these requirements, so in order to gain DDA compliance, The Canal Museum commissioned a kiosk virtual tour to run outside the boat. The tour gives disabled visitors the chance to thoroughly explore inside the boat.

Case Study: The RAF Museum, London

The RAF Museum needed a way to display the interior of a 1930s British racing aircraft, the Percival Mew Gull, to disabled and non-disabled visitors to the museum. The craft itself is displayed hanging from the roof of the museum, so access to the single cockpit is not possible for visitors. Eye Revolution created a 360 degree, interactive, high-definition virtual tour which was placed in a kiosk by the exhibit, thereby giving all visitors, both disabled and non-disabled, the opportunity to thoroughly explore the inside of the cockpit.

How virtual tours can help

Virtual tours (or “360 tours”) can help overcome a wide variety of accessibility obstacles. Some examples could be:

– the area is not accessible for people with mobility issues
– the area is too small to accommodate a wheelchair, a personal assistant (PA) or an assistance dog
– the area cannot be adapted due to historic buildings or health and safety regulations
– large queues form at certain collections or attractions
– the collection is not sited in an accessible area of the building
– high footfall volumes risk damaging the collection

In many cases, an offsite resource can ensure compliance with the DDA, so a website which includes 360 degree tours is a good access solution for many museums, galleries and other organisations.

And the virtual tour doesn’t have to be a standalone solution – it can be a multi-sensory experience incorporating a floorplan for orientation, music soundtracks, audio soundtracks, walk-through tours and multimedia content such as videos, still images, games and quizzes or even blogs and twitter tweets.

All service providers have a legal and moral obligation to ensure that all visitors have an inclusive experience, and Eye Revolution can help you to meet these needs.

Virtual Tours and W3C Web Accessibility

We have also written an article offering guidance on virtual tour W3C accessibility, as e-Government standards require that public sector websites meet level 2 “AA” W3C guidelines. Please click the link to read the full article about W3C Web Accessible Virtual Tours.