Low Tech Solutions to Complicated Problems

Walking Video Guides by Ben Stephen

Click here to access the guides.

For people with limited mobility and poor eyesight all routes to the Albany have a variety of obstacles.

We had been wrestling with the challenge of producing a simple guide for 18 months and getting nowhere. We needed to create clear instructions for getting to the Albany, but with so many public transport options we faced a complicated task.

After discovering that paying for an app was beyond our means, we tried different ways of representing the routes to the theatre, but it became clear that this was almost impossible on our limited budget.

Then we had a bit of a ‘lightbulb moment’ when noticing that Network Rail had just installed lifts at New Cross and Deptford. Whipping out a smart phone, we put in our headphones and walked to the Albany, describing what we saw along the way. Watching the videos back we discovered that these were really simple to follow.

We planned routes from the three nearest train stations with lifts by walking them through and looking for the smoothest, flattest routes with the highest number of pedestrian crossings and lowest number of obstacles. We used shortcuts where they were wheelchair friendly, but avoided them if they were not.

Once we’d recorded the routes we realised they were quite lengthy and there was a lot of background noise as we’d recorded them on a windy day. So we borrowed a computer from the Albany’s youth engagement team and had a go at editing it. We re-recorded the sound with the same smart phone and added a few captions.

Uploaded to our YouTube channel and embedded onto the Albany website, the video route maps are now available to everyone.

After some very positive feedback our video map idea is being championed by Attitude is Everything, and looked at by other arts organisations across the country. Our next task is to look at how to make a map for driving to the Albany and extend the route maps to include bus stops.

Our low tech solution to a complicated problem cost us almost no money and was incredibly simple to achieve.

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