Vocaleyes: Guidelines for Digital Accessibility


Guidelines for Digital Accessibility (including Audio Description on film): 

See also Stagetext guidelines for adding captions to increase further access: https://www.musedcn.org.uk/2017/11/19/captioning-your-films-and-videos-stagetext/


Changing Places toilets: The Art of exLOOsion by Alison Beevers – Retford Changing Places Campaign (facebook)

You visit an Art Gallery. You may visit the gallery café or the gallery shop. You may also visit the loos, after all you’ll be there for a while. In this time you may have spent a bob or two.

The problem for us is we are not able to ‘spend a penny’. My son has Cerebral Palsy, he has difficulties controlling his movements and cannot stand or sit unaided, because of his condition is unable to use a standard disabled toilet. Due to a woeful lack of toilet provision in the UK for people with profound disabilities or complex health needs, visiting many places for us is limited, time restricted or simply unachievable these days.

This situation gives us a feeling of increasing worthlessness, social exclusion and inability to participate in everyday activities that others take for granted. I don’t have a disability myself but I’ve come to learn what a barrier and disadvantage it is to have no access to a toilet, a basic human right. Often I’ve had to attend my son’s toileting needs in degrading, dangerous and unhygienic situations, a baby change, car boot, various floors. It is soul destroying.

This led me to the UK Changing Places campaign which seeks to highlight the need for accessible toilets with more space and extra assistive equipment including a bench and ceiling hoist. These toilets are specifically designed to assist multiple health needs and should be provided in addition to the full range of single sex and standard accessible WC’s and baby changing facilities. At present there are 1069 Changing Places facilities registered in the UK, not anywhere near enough to meet the needs for an estimated 250,000 + people in the UK.

While a growing number of visitor attractions, transport hubs, shopping centres and sport stadiums, already include Changing Places toilets , larger museums and galleries are lagging behind at just 14 toilets (Tate, Nottingham Contemporary, Eureka museum to name a few). Some of the reasons for this being a lack of knowledge and awareness and issues relating to ‘restricted’ funding. Onus is on individual venues to deliver and manage facilities. This is a particular problem for charity led and free for entry museums that rely on external funding to deliver their work.

What can we do to change this?

Awareness; some venues may have no previous knowledge of Changing Places toilets or the need despite being recommended in British Standard 8300. As a code of practice, this British Standard takes the form of guidance and recommends that Changing Places toilets should be provided in larger buildings and complexes.

Public venues must take positive steps to remove the barriers and have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments to ensure visitors and staff have the same services, as far a possible as someone who’s not disabled. It’s important to get in touch with a museum or gallery to raise your concerns. Although there may be no immediate solution, venues will be able to plan ahead and look at other funding opportunities.

Disabled people represent a massive untapped market for business with a collective spending power at £249 billion, which is why fully accessible toilets make excellent business sense! Venues can broaden their accessibility appeal and visitor audience by providing Changing Places toilets.

Find out more about Changing Places here and how they change lives.


Face book – @Changing_Places

Twitter @CP_Consortium

Alison Beevers – Retford Changing Places Campaign (facebook)


Changing Places toilets information for museums and heritage organisations

Changing Places

Out of 1069 Changing Places toilets in Britain. At time of writing, there are 16 available in Museums.

We have worked with families and the Changing Places Consortium to set up this section of the DCN website so museums and organisations can work collaboratively to increase the number of Changing Places toilets in their towns and cities, and in their heritage organisations. There are some suggestions below for positive action.

There are over 250,000 people with disabilities in Britain, yet accessible toilets and Changing Places toilets are still not available.

My organisation wants to know about this:
If you need further information in developing a Changing Places toilet: Go to Changing Places Toilets – information and advice for museums and Changing Places website http://www.changing-places.org/Default.aspx

We haven’t got the space:
The standard space required for a Changing Places toilet is 12 sqm. The Building Standard that relates to Changing Places toilets is BS8300.  The ideal solution for any newly built cultural venues is to have a 12 sqm Changing Places facility from the outset of planning.  Changing Places are able to offer advice and guidance regarding space requirements for installation and will advise the best solutions for the space that is available within venues.
They can be emailed or phoned via: http://www.changing-places.org/about_us/contact_us.aspx

So, you really haven’t got the space so whats next?
Often it can be due to limited space, therefore it is vital that museums find out where the nearest Changing Places toilet is to their organisation.  It is important that the location of the facility and how close it is to the organisation is on the museums website as part of their access statement. You can find your nearest Changing Places toilet via the Changing Places consortium website http://www.uktoiletmap.org/

If you don’t have one near you, speak to your local council, tourism officer for potential collaboration to place in the town centre.   There are statistics related to the tourism economy to towns and cities which value the purple pound at £12 Billion (source: Visit Britain). Lack of facilities mean people will actively seek and go to providers who have installed the toilets and other accessible facilities.

Check out how Chester became Europes most accessible city here: Guardian:  https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/sep/20/chester-europes-most-accessible-city

But, we are listed and in the middle of nowhere:
IHus offer free standing Changing Places toilets, at time of posting they offer free consultation: https://www.ihuschangingplaces.com/about/

Historic England guidelines for access for people with disabilities and their offices are available for advice. https://www.musedcn.org.uk/2017/01/12/physical-access-standards-consultancy-and-related-organisations/

We are holding an event, or need to pilot this:
There are portable Changing Places toilets that are available to hire called Mobiloo at a reasonable cost.
Link and information here: https://www.mobiloo.org.uk/

How does no changing places toilets impact on families and adults?
There a number of blog sites which parents of children with disabilities and adults write about the impact of changing their children and members of their families on wet tiled floors and car boots.

“This situation gives us a feeling of increasing worthlessness, social exclusion and inability to participate in everyday activities that others take for granted”.  Alison Beevers, Retford Changing Places Campaign.

Families can become champions to your organisations by inclusive practice.

“then to the Changing Places toilet, with adult changing bench and hoist, to get Flossie sorted. These type of facilities are extremely rare in our public places, but they are the only type of loo where Flossie can be sorted with dignity (so Thank You, Eureka, for including one).”  Lorna Fillingham, blogger

Check out the following blog sites:

‘The Art of Exloosion’ by Alison Beevers, Retford Changing Places Campaigner

Lorna Fillingham’s blog:  https://awheeliegreatadventure.wordpress.com/

Zack Kerr’s blog site: http://www.changing-places.org/get_involved/read_about_local_campaigns/blogs_by_campaigners/zack_kerr%E2%80%99s_blog-_campaigning_for_changing_places_.aspx

Signly – a great app for sign language


Signly is an app which displays pre-recorded sign language videos on a user’s mobile, enabling better access to written content for d/Deaf sign language users.  Signly can be used for trails, posters, leaflets and forms.

Information regarding the app and links are here

Signly Poster – Click to download PDF



Lingusio : the audio guide that removes barriers ~ Antonia Eggeling

Lingusio scarf

In future, museums will mainly be places of human encounters. Lingusio is more than just an audio guide. Inclusively created content and an unconventional design promote a lively interaction regardless of knowledge or skills. The guide not only recognizes the right of people with disabilities to equally take part with others in cultural activities, but it has a profound impact on the entire museum: Lingusio offers the possibility to see artworks from a whole new perspective to regular visitors, experts, as well as new audience groups.

The innovative audio guide was developed in cooperation with experts in the fields both of museums and people with learning difficulties in order to create a new way to experience a museum visit.



The project addresses the inclusion and accessibility of people with learning difficulties in Museums. As determined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations), “States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to take part in an equal basis with others in cultural life”[1]. Likewise accessibility is a crucial part of the concept and also regularized by law. The regulations apply not only to physical barriers, but also to those with regard to content and mediation.

The project aims to make content more accessible for people with learning difficulties. Moreover, it opens it to a broader public and therefore provides future business ideas for museums in general.



Lingusio Scarf in use
Lingusio Scarf in use

Lingusio is a hardware device that enables the simple and understandable dissemination of content not only for people with learning difficulties but all visitors. The formal difference to an ordinary audio guide is obvious: it’s a scarf. The device features a barrier-free design and intuitive functions that represent a significant improvement over a regular audio guide. Formal and technical aspects of the product follow the principles of universal design.

Lingusio rests on the shoulders of the visitor like a scarf. One end of the device serves as a speaker, the other as volume control. A reader is located in the scarf and enables the automatic identification of the artwork within a certain radius. As soon as the speaker-part of the scarf is raised for listening, the corresponding track starts to play.

Above all, however, the design has a large impact on the handling and therefore also on the behaviour of users. Previously museum visitors were closed off permanently from their environment due to headphones. In contrast, the scarf enables an “open ear” and thus a more conscious perception of the environment.




People with learning difficulties not only have had direct input on the design of the device, but also on the content of the audio guides – making access to museum content simpler and easier for everyone.

In a co-creation workshop, people with learning difficulties and museum educators deal intensively with the artworks of a future exhibition. The aim is to gather three very different descriptions, opinions or ideas for each piece of art. These heterogeneous contents are then transferred to audio guides that are visually distinguished by three different colours.



Lingusio scarf
Lingusio scarf

The aim of the special design in the shape of a scarf is to share the content with visitors wearing another color. The awareness that he or she might be listening to something else arouses curiosity and encourages people to talk. Lingusio therefore not merely transmit information and broaden perspective, but function primarily as a basis for discussion and facilitate encounters with other visitors.



Lingusio scarf - interaction between visitors
Lingusio scarf – interaction between visitors

The goal of the project was to develop a product concept that introduces not only people with learning difficulties to the yet unknown and with numerous psychological barriers afflicted context of museums. The goal was to create something that promotes interaction between all visitors and therefore includes various people. Consequently, the information based on the research with a specific target group has a profound impact on the entire museum, including experts, regular visitors and new audience groups.

A significant personal development of the co-designers in the course of the project could be observed. The initial intimidation created by the museum halls disappeared. All participants were full of self-confidence, curiosity and drive. Having attended the workshop enabled them to move freely and express their opinion about the works in the exhibition.

The active involvement of people with learning difficulties in the development of contents, offers the opportunity to develop creative and intellectual potential – this encourages the participants and allows wide parts of society to partake in this project.

“The project proves that the removal of barriers for people with learning difficulties provides additional value for society as a whole. At the same time, is creates possibilities for innovative business ideas.”

(Tobias Marczinzik, PIKSL)

Antonia Eggeling
Designer of the Audio Scarf

In cooperation with the PISKL experts






[1] United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, article 30, see http://www.institut-fuer-menschenrechte.de/fileadmin/user_upload/PDF-Dateien/Pakte_Konventionen/CRPD_behindertenrechtskonvention/crpd_en.pdf


Changing Places Toilets – information and advice for museums

The Campaign

The Changing Places Consortium launched its campaign in 2006 on behalf of the over 1/4 of a million people who cannot use standard accessible toilets. This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, as well as older people.
To use the toilet in safety and comfort, many people need to be able to access a Changing Places, which have more space and the right equipment, including a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist.

Changing Places facilities need to meet a certain standard to be registered on our website. www.changing-places.org This is to ensure that any facility advertised as a Changing Places toilet meets the needs and expectations of the people who use them. To be registered on the national government funded website, the facilities must be open to the public. Changing Places toilets should be installed in addition to, not in replacement of, standard accessible toilets for independent use.


Example Changing Places Toliet (C) Changing Places
Example Changing Places Toliet (C) Changing Places


We recommend that the dimensions of the room are a minimum of 12 square metres (3m x 4m), with a ceiling height of 2.4m. Examples can be found from page 32 of our Practical Guide.
Some facilities listed on the website as Changing Places will be smaller than 12 square metres. This reflects the standards of Changing Places toilets when the campaign was launched in 2006.
The Changing Places Consortium appreciates that meeting the 12 square metres (3m x 4m) size criteria of the British Standard may be difficult in, for example, a listed building that cannot be altered. We would recommend that you consult with us at the Changing Places Consortium before you start planning any renovations or adaptations in buildings such as these.

Toilets may continue to be identified as Changing Places toilets where the minimum room dimensions are 7 square metres or above. We do recommend that providers and installers do their best to meet the 12 square metre British Standard current guidelines as smaller facilities may exclude many users who need the full space.

Facilities which do not provide the features in the Changing Places Standard section below, or alternative layouts, may not be identified as a Changing Places toilet on our website. However, they may still be of benefit to disabled people and their carers, and as such information regarding these facilities may be included on the website.

Changing Places – mandatory size for new build, complies with space and equipment fit out standards set out in BS8300 (shower optional) –
Facilities with a peninsular toilet, full 12 sqm space, ceiling tracking hoist, adult sized height adjustable bench (wall mounted or free standing), public access. (Picture below)
Changing Places (U) – undersized unit that does not fully meet BS8300, when the only option in an existing building
Peninsular toilet (or corner toilet if only option available), smaller than recommended 12 sqm, ceiling tracking hoist or mobile hoist, adult sized height adjustable bench (wall mounted or free standing), public access. (Picture below)


Good signage is vital to help users of Changing Places toilets. The Changing Places symbol is increasingly recognised and should always be displayed at a Changing Places venue. Signs with the Changing Places symbol should be at the entrance to the toilet, inside the venue and on other appropriate signage.

If the Changing Places toilet is located by other toilets, then the Changing Places symbol should be displayed alongside all the usual toilet symbols, including that of standard accessible (disabled) toilets.
Door signage is essential. We recommend that the Changing Places symbol is displayed on the door of the toilet.

As the symbol is not always recognised by everyone, venues may want to add the words “Changing Places Toilet” underneath.
Additional information stating what a Changing Places toilet is and how you can gain access, could also be provided.

Signs inside the venue should give directions to all toilets, including the Changing Places toilet. Larger venues with greater numbers of visitors should locate signage overhead too so that it is visible when crowds fill the area.

Health and Safety information in the Changing Places toilet
We recommend that “Guidance for Use” is displayed on the wall in the Changing Places toilet. You should state the manufacturer’s maximum weight limit for the hoist and changing bench, as well as instructions on how to use the hoist and height adjustable equipment.

Any museums considering installing a Changing Places toilet should get in touch with the Changing Places consortium via email on ChangingPlaces@mencap.org.uk or call 020 7696 6019

My House of Memories app – partnership case study

National Museums Liverpool recognises that museums are experts at recording and caring for people’s memories – whether they are thousands of years old or within ‘living memory’. Museums enable people to explore and connect with their personal history and engage in relevant and meaningful cultural activity.

The root of the House of Memories training is to acknowledge and understand that an individual’s personal history and memory is of great value and significance. Museums are great at looking after memories and House of Memories is an imaginative education resource, increasing dementia awareness in communities and access to new skills and resources.

My House of Memories app

‘My House of Memories’ is a digital memory resource for iOS and Android tabletsCo-created by National Museums Liverpool and people living with dementia (Innovate Dementia), this app is the first of its kind. When downloaded, it provides access to a wide range of content linked to Liverpool and the wider UK (South East) and connects users with museum collections. The initiative involved working specifically with the cultural and health sectors to deliver a memory product that improves the lives of people living with dementia and their carers. 

The purpose of the app

The app was created for people living with dementia and their carers to use in their own homes and care settings. Dementia affects people differently, affecting communication, self esteem and confidence, often leading to social withdrawal and isolation. Maintaining communication and conversational opportunities are immensely valuable for the person‘s wellbeing, quality of life and sense of staying connected. It is also of great value for family members and health and social care professionals, who can also struggle to communicate effectively as people’s needs change, and usual methods to engage people in meaningful activities become more difficult as dementia progresses. To address the increasing societal challenges that dementia presents, the app was developed as a tool to support communication interactions, engagement, cognitive stimulation and involvement in meaningful activity, whilst also providing communication ‘toolkit’ guidance for the health and social care sector.


The app contains objects from National Museums Liverpool, British Museum, Bexley Heritage Trust, the Cinema Museum and Brighton Royal Pavilion and Museum. The content is selected to be relevant (time line circa 1920 -1980) and the design allows people to browse objects from across the decades; brought to life with music and film to prompt discussion and reminiscence about every day memories and events (e.g. school life, sport, food and transport). The app can be personalised to individual and multiple users, enabling them to save favourite museum objects to their own digital memory tree, and enriching the experience for the user. Advice and information on dementia and memory activities is included for family, health and social care supporters.

Design and consultation

To ensure the resource was effective, a dementia-friendly, user-centred design process was followed. This tested model of co-creation brought people living with dementia and their carers together with the development team, throughout the whole design, creation and testing process.  Service users from Mossley Hill Hospital Memory Clinic and Innovate Dementia’s regional stakeholder group were identified through the project to participate. This user-centred approach has been integral to the app’s success, with dementia friendly functions, including stripped back design, easy to navigate content, voice over and subtitles.

Using a ‘Living Lab’ methodology, the app was explored, adapted, tested and evaluated so that its design and content was locally relevant, to support the wellbeing of those who use it.  Originally containing objects from Liverpool, the app has since been developed to contain objects from regional museum partners. The collections have both local and universal appeal, broadening the relevance nationally.

Partnership working in the South East

Expanding the project nationally, to involve health and cultural partners in the South East of England has enabled the project to be scaled up, to the greater benefit of communities across the UK. Cultural partners have benefited from a greater understanding and awareness of the challenges facing those living with dementia and their carers. Their involvement in the app has enabled them to think about new ways of interpreting their collections for people with dementia, and creating memory resources that can be enjoyed in the museum or care setting.

The digital app has enabled carers and people living with dementia to connect with the internationally acclaimed collections of National Museums Liverpool, British Museum, Bexley Heritage Trust, Royal Pavilion & Museums Brighton and the Cinema Museum to support compassionate and meaningful conversations, and dignity in care.

The training sessions

As part of the partnership with museum in the South East, a free House of Memories digital dementia awareness training programme was offered to health and social care professionals in those localities. The brand new free digital training uses the My House of Memories app to show how resources from museums and cultural venues can be used effectively to enrich and improve the lives of those living with dementia, their carers and families.

Training sessions took place at Hall Place and Gardens, Bexley, the Cinema Museum in Lambeth and the British Museum, Bloomsbury. The sessions provided participants with essential information about dementia and equipped them with practical digital skills and confidence to use the app in their settings.

Feedback on the training and the app was incredibly positive, as demonstrated in the following quotes:

“I think how valuable this resource can be and how it can be used in a wide range of settings. I think its fantastic and will definitely let people know about it.”

“Great potential to work individually with service users in a truly person centred way.”

Along with other cultural venues in the South East, Bexley Heritage Trust added a range of fascinating objects from their collections to the My House of Memories app.

The benefits of the project

National Museums Liverpool passionately believes that My House of Memories can play a significant role in a society that supports people with dementia and their families. The museum partners involved in the programme were able to create a safe and supportive environment for the dementia community to share ideas and experience first hand how memory activities can have a positive impact on their lives. Some of the benefits of developing the app have been as follows:

  • creating opportunities to promote independence among carers and the people they care for, by encouraging participation in consultation activity
  • creating a focus for those involved by capitalising on what they have and enabling them to make a positive contribution, rather than focusing on what they have lost
  • allowing users to capture precious memories and ‘favourite’ objects, to be preserved for reference at home or in a care setting, ensuring continuity along their care journey
  • promoting wellbeing and resilience within the community by firmly focusing attention on the person living with dementia and providing opportunities to make reference and connections to their life experiences, dreams and shared memories
  • an ability to export personalised memory activities between users, helping to build on connectivity, and bringing family members together through digital technology to combat social isolation.

Levels of engagement

More than 4500 carers have downloaded the app since its launch in June 2014. Independent evaluation carried out by the Institute of Cultural Capital reported the app promoted interaction and engagement, providing an effective communication and reminiscence resource. The content was shown to be relevant, provoking personal and happy memories for users as objects related to local and UK wide museums. The app has had a direct impact on the service users involved in the programme, increasing their knowledge, engagement and enjoyment.


Service user feedback:

“You often only see people in the later stages [of dementia] but in the years leading up to that, if you can get people used to using these technologies, it can help keep isolation away.” 

 “Technology can be a lifeline… it can be a great companion and keep people in touch.” 

“I would love all those people who say people with dementia can’t learn anything new to see us using the app… to see the joy on their faces because they realise they can learn.” 

Future plans

The app shows that museum resources can be used effectively to help enrich and improve the lives of those living with dementia, their families and carers. Using a simple format to stimulate memory, it allows and enables meaningful conversation, special moments and shared memories between parents, sons and daughters, carers and their clients.

This free app is unique and the first of its kind in that it provides a person-centred reminiscence museum collection experience as a memory resource for people living with dementia.

The ambition for My House of Memories is boundless and following the successfully testing the apps capabilities to create new content with South East partners, the next step is to work with diverse communities and museum partners across the UK and internationally.

You can find out how to download the My House of Memories app on the website: