dai11y 17/08/2023 – Interview with Jamie Knight (and Lion)

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Interview with Jamie Knight (and Lion)

This landed in my inbox only recently (despite being published in April last year). I remember Jamie from my days at the BBC, so it’s always nice to find out how people are doing!

Jamie has autism and mobility issues. Denis Boudreau interviewed Jamie about the accessibility of virtual and in-person events.

One of the worst things speakers can do to ruin an attendee’s experience is to make assumptions. Jamie is “semi-speaking” and an unexpected demand to speak can be difficult – so don’t assume someone can speak at a moment’s notice. Another assumption is that someone can move. Jamie needs a harness to sit upright, “so for that reason, a 10-minute ‘break’ often means sitting alone for 10 minutes as that’s not enough time to unstrap, transfer and move anywhere”.

The rest of the interview is largely focussed on how speakers can help their audience to focus. Visual structure for slides is important: “slide numbers, visually indicated sections (colours, icons etc), and coming back to something consistent at the end of each section”. This allows audiences to pace themselves and follow the narrative. Most people will be relying on at least two of three means of access: spoken words, visuals, and something textual or signed. Finally, events should “be joyful. The most engaging accessible content treats any topic in a playful way”.

Jamie ends with “Assumptions are the root cause of most barriers. If you keep on top of the assumptions, then most of the barriers can be avoided.”

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