How an Al Jazeera web experience spotlit the inaccessibility of cities

Al Jazeera won the Grand Prix at The Drum Awards for Online Media 2022 for an immersive digital experience with a social good and journalistic weight. Here, we find out more about what went into this successful project.

Inaccessible Cities was an interactive web experience that looked into the state of accessibility in three megacities – New York City, Lagos and Mumbai. Through the lens of three women with disabilities, the project revealed how the lack of accessible public transport and infrastructure further marginalized the disabled community in our cities.

It says: “This interactive web experience combines our journalism and storytelling prowess with our commitment to innovation in digital media.”

AJ Contrast, Al Jazeera Digital’s two-time Emmy-nominated media innovation studio, created the experience. It found that of all the people with disabilities in the world, 80% live in developing countries – that’s roughly 1 billion people with disabilities.

It decided to explore the issue through the stories of three women, because its data suggests that the majority – three-quarters – of people with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries are women. They are at even higher risk of poverty, neglect and abuse than men, it adds. The three women were as follows: Rebecca Lamorte, a former New York City Council candidate; Olajumoke Olajide, an athlete from Lagos; and Nidhi Goyal, an activist and comedian from Mumbai.

The web experience is fully accessible online to people with disabilities as part of the conversation within online journalism about digital media accessibility.

It included audio descriptions, alternative text for images, descriptions for the gamification, operable navigation and other features.

It promoted Inaccessible Cities through all AJ Contrast and Al Jazeera English’s (AJE) social media channels. The AJE Instagram account has around 2.4 million followers and the AJE YouTube channel has 8.55 million subscribers. Threads also went out on the AJE Twitter, which has 7.4 million followers. There was supporting content posted on aljazeera.com, which attracts approximately 30 million monthly visitors.

The campaign continues, but later this year it is planning to showcase Inaccessible Cities as a physical installation at the Fire Station Museum in Qatar during the 2022 Fifa World Cup, which is estimated to attract 1.2 million tourists.

Try it here.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Online Media 2022. Check out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.