Longwill School for the Deaf - Immersion
Today I went along, with Smile, to Longwill School for the Deaf to start discussing the new project. We’re going to be creating a new website for the school, but hopefully it will be more than a website; it will change lives.
Its very exciting, and the partnership with Sony means that there are going to be all sorts of opportunities to get creative with web technologies.
The school itself is a wonderful place. Its an incredibly happy environment and nothing like your usual primary school.
It really hits you when you see the staff in action at how different their lives are. These children’s entire communication standard is based on a visual vocabulary. This means that we have to create something that is clean, concise, and structured.
A point that came out of the meeting was making posting content to the website as simple as it gets. Apparently I am a ‘digital native’. Which means that I grew up with this cool technology that I love so much, which in turn means that I can adapt quicker than ‘digital immigrants’ who have had to move with the times. These are the people that we must make post content. i know these sorts. They almost fear computers! HOLD THE PHONE - I think I may have some sort of base-level-theory on how to combat this. It started when Paul Slocombe - one of our uni lecturers and semiotics legend - was keen to push the use of ‘the cloud’ and ‘web 2.0’ services. Although this sounds buzz wordy and all a bit flash, I think there are major advantages to using 3rd party apps.
- Storage is cheaper and reliable
- API’s allow other people to pull information which gives a larger audience capture range
- RSS allows users to be kept up to date
- UI is highly constructed and targeted at less experienced web-users
- Usually community centred
I recently discovered Posterous. This allows you to create a tumblog by emailing content to an easy to remember address. This isnt new, but the service has simplified the technique and its so simple that a monkey could do it. Corporate enviroments have basically forced ‘digital immigrants’ to learn and understand email systems which is why email is a worldwide standard. Pair this with the RSS feed it spits out, pump that through pipes to get rid of the stuff you dont want and brand it a bit more (just a general tidy up) and you’ve got a basic source of information that can be fed through the Longwill website. This should mean that posting can happen from anywhere with email access and be simple enough for the ‘digital immigrants’ to understand.
This definitely needs refinement but its a start. Ive also got some great ideas for integration of interactive flash video and psp-to-cloud based services.
I really want to make a difference to the working environment of Longwill and I want to leave the job satisfied that I have changed the way that the deaf can interact with a wider community, even if this is raising the awareness by questioning the notion of an accessible website.