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How to Make Animation Accessible!

BBC Education : Phonics Wizards by Tentacle Media

Whether it's an Animated TV Show or an Animated Corporate Video, they all have something in common. You need the audience to be able to take onboard whatever message you're trying to deliver.

If the audience can't follow or understand the content, it's basically pointless.

The 3 main reasons this matters:

  • There is a lot of great animation that has no meaning, therefore hard to care about!

  • There is a lot of great messaging that's hard to engage with due to the animation falling flat!

  • This applies to every single sector from Broadcast Animation to Animated Corporate Videos and E-Learning and beyond!

What is Accessibility in Animation, and Why Does it Matter?

Accessibility in animation is different things to different people, but at its core it is the quality of being able to be absorbed, understood, related to and engaged with.

A Pre-school Animated TV Show that teaches children Phonics, will have a different audience to a motion design animation that is targeting a brand marketing campaign.

And even further still, each of those audiences have a diverse range of people, with specific wants and needs from the content.

So how can you make sure your content is Accessible?

How to Make Your Content Accessible

The most important thing you can do is Understand Your Audience.

A 2d Animation of a snail and a frog on a tree stump, performing a dance for other woodland creatures.
CBeebies : Melody and Friends - Animated by Tentacle Media

It's all about making sure that the target audience is at the heart of whatever you do, if you want them to absorb, understand, relate and engage with your content.

When you think of Animation Production, most people think of it as a visual first media. The truth is there are many layers that enable engagement, which is why you should treat your animation audience not purely as a Viewer.

Some of our top tips to keep in mind (why not start with the obvious):

  • Does the visual element read well... TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE!

If you're using Animated Internal Training videos, are the instructions simple, clear and engaging. Will your vast range of employees across the whole company, be able to follow and recognise your message like our Training Animations for Central England Co-op.

Simple vector character design. A supermarket worker is helping a shopper choose a product.
Central England Co-op Internal Training Animation series by Tentacle Media

If you are targeting an early years audience with children's content, are there aspects to take in to account such as colour contrast for a visually impaired audience like our work on CBeebies Melody.

2d Character animation. A happy young girl in a suit of armour, stood in front of a stone wall.
CBeebies : Melody Animated by Tentacle Media

Do you need additional accessibility such as BSL (British Sign Language) or subtitles, to ensure the audience can engage. Be sure to include this in the planning of any visual elements on screen, to give readability as well as interpretation that aren't clashing on screen.

Vector infographic style characters sitting at a desk.
Glasgow College - Information Series by Tentacle Media

  • Does the Animation Sound Design make sense... TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE!

Do you need to give your audience an immersive experience in a safe way. Simulate alarms, warning signals or hazardous situations like our quirky Character Animation focussed Develop Training series.

2d animated character. A man in a hi-vis vest and hard hat is staring at a large box labelled heavy load. They are surrounded by other warehouse objects including a forklift and pallets.
Develop Training : 5 Second Lessons by Tentacle Media

Or do you need a narrative and audio description, that can lead the audience through the learning like our Environmental Animations for BBC Bitesize. Keep the tone and pace appropriate for the message and target audience.

Mixed media image of the earth as a character with large eyes, hands and smile.
BBC The Regenerators - Environmental Awareness series by Tentacle Media

  • Does the pace of the Animation make sense... TO YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE!

If you have 5 seconds to explain a message, get to the point!

If you have 3 minutes to explain a message, deliver the nuance in a meaningful way that will engage. Use relevant language and allow processing time if needed, to allow for a variety of cognition processing abilities. If it's for Internal Training for example, consider highlights and chapter headers, summaries and recaps.

Whatever platform whether it's Cinema, Broadcast, VOD, SVOD, Instagram, Facebook, Website Promotion, Internal Communication or E-Learning, don't just think about what you enjoy, think about what your audience needs.

2d Illustration of a robot with grey hair and glasses. They have a Staffordshire knot on their chest and they are holding up a sign that says top tips.
Superfast Staffordshire : High Speed Broadband Rollout campaign by Tentacle Media

Top Tips

  • Who are your target audience!

  • What do they need to get out of your Animated Content!

  • Why is it important!

At the end of the day...

...we don't just produce animation here at Tentacle Media, we also consult on animation productions and co-produce content!

If you have an idea and fancy chatting about how to make it work for your audience, give the friendly Tentacle Team a shout and we can happily guide you through the process.

Have a look around our website at some of the various styles and approaches we've taken, to produce animation for a wide range of folk.

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Tentacle Media Website Homepage

Engage your audience!

We can help with every step of the process from developing the initial idea, through to the final deliverables.

Staff Training Resources, E-Learning modules, Explainers, Promotional pieces, Short Form Animation or full Episodic Animated Tv Shows, we've got you covered.

Whether you are completely new to the idea of Animation or a seasoned storyteller, our skilled team of creative wizards will guide you in making your creative vision a reality.


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