Physical Distancing: Everyone is Different; Let’s Be Kind

Poster on phsical distancing and visual impairment for a WHO call for submissions on physical distancing.
Poster on phsical distancing and visual impairment for a WHO call for submissions on physical distancing.

This image was co-designed with Francisco de la Mora. We produced it in response to this call by the World Health Organisation to “use any creative medium” to produce work that captures one of their coronavirus key messages:

  • Personal Hygiene
  • Physical Distancing
  • Know the symptoms
  • Kindness contagion
  • Myth-busting
  • Do more, donate

We decided to address the “Kindness contagion” key message whilst referring to physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe the message can also be applied for more general situations. The audience are people without visual impairment.

The image is an output from ongoing user-centred research with visually-impaired participants, and reflects the actual experience of a visually-impaired person going shopping under COVID-19 social distancing measures.

We consulted experts on accessibility and followed accessible design guidelines (colour, contrast, layout). So far most of the social distancing measures have been communicated through mostly ableist means that exclude the visually impaired (like the sign on the window in the poster; see for example this post by the Royal National Institute of Blind People).

Our main message is that physical/social distancing is harder or more complex for the visually impaired- there is a need for kindness when observing physical distancing measures because everyone is different.

The lettering is hand-drawn but we could draw the same message (or adaptations of it) in different languages. With many thanks to the colleagues and participants we consulted with and who provided us with feedback during the different iterations in the production of this image.

As required by the WHO call, our submission was uploaded here as a PSD file (layered; large version) and here as a JPG file (to fit Instagram etc).

If you like it or think the message is important, please share this post with the hashtags #UNCovid19Brief  and #ViralKindness or #KindnessContagion. Thanks in advance.

[NB. This post does not replace nor preempts other outputs about or from our ongoing work on visual impairment during the pandemic].