As a highly culturally diverse country, it is vital in Australia that people of all cultural backgrounds and literacy levels have access to important community information. In recent years we have seen a change in new arrivals coming from countries who have oral based languages, or with very low literacy levels in their own language and/or in English. Our product, LLULAS Universal Communication cuts through cultural boundaries and literacy levels by combining universal signs, symbols, gesture, body language, cross-cultural communcation and solid academic and in-field reseearch. We have worked with many government organisations to deliver vital messages that reaches the most diverse audience possible around Australia. In this way we are able to empower those newly arrived and those who have lived in country for many years, regardless of the literacy or cultural background. For example, we recently worked with the Fair Work Ombudsman to address issues of work place rights and responsibilites in Australia to raise awareness around the country. This helps empower those new to the country or those currently impacted by misuse or misunderstanding of Australia's Fair Work regulations. At the same time this contributes to creating a more socially cohesive society, where every one can actively participate.
We work with a base team of four (lead consultant, animator, scribe and consultant). This is scaled up if the project requires. Our products are viewed Australia-wide via websites, you tube and facebook.
We are presented with the issue our client wants to address. We gather all the information to help us create a story. We draw on authentic stories we gather from consultation with the community or through research material. We then create simple key messages and develop engaging graphics, representative of the diversity in Australia. This includes not only cultural diversity but also disabilty. We have tried using same sex couples but this has not been well received in some commuities and has detracted from the key message we are trying to communicate. We will endevour to continue to test in this area as time goes on. We then take these storyboards and animations into the most culturally and linguistically audinces, such as English classes in settlement agencies. We take an inclusive, transparent and collaborative apporach to product development. We test firstly with low literacy to ensure their understanding and then later with a higher level to gain a deeper understanding on how the images are interpreted. This allows us incorporate our target audience's feedback into the development of the product. When we animate we only create movement on the key message aspect we are trying to communicate. This allows us to work with both high and low context cultures, where information gathering is quite different. We draw on rich academic research and our own social action design research to produce a truely unique and universal form of communication.
Our approach is to ensure that our characters are truely non specific so as to avoid a 'pick the cultural background' scenario. Initially cartoon-style characters were used and these were deemed too patronising. After much testing and trailling we developed characters that are defined by continent, for example Asian, African but are non specific of any one country. We also use cultural symbols to indicate cultural background for example, a woman wearing a headscarf. This reflects the diversity of the Australian population and also encourages pride. We use characters that have a disabilty such as in a wheelchair or with a cane. This is always postively viewed by our community. We also include 'elders' as they play an important role in many communities.
We take a very participatory approach in that our audience actively contribute to the design and development of the process by feedback their understanding and ways to make the messages clearer. This is particularly important for complex legal issues such as workplace and consumer law.
Initially our product appeared too innovative for many organisations, in particular government, that are used to translating material into other languages to address cultural and linguistic diversity. However, many new arrivals in the recent past years to Australia had litttle or no literacy in their own language or in English. This was the challenge that we faced initally when we approached this area of communication. An independent research organistion conducted research into the effectiveness of the storyboards and results showed an 87% level of comprehension of key messages. This helped in some way in breaking down resistence. Overwhelmingly the factor which brings clients to acknowledge the success and effectiveness of LLULAS is during the testing. We always encourage clients to participate in the social action design testing stage so clients can see for themseelves, how regardless of literacy levels our characters, symbols and contextualised settings are rich in meaning. Combined with the story element and animation the messages are clearly understood and deciphered. As larger clients such as the Consumer Affairs agencies and the Fair Work Ombudsman have approached us, confidence has grown in the effectiveness of LLULAS.
Our series of six animations produced for NSW FAir Trading has been so successful a further set of language voice over versions were added. Last year we produced six animations for the Fair Work Ombudsman and they then requested a further 10 voice over languages little over two months later. Based on the success of LLULAS in the workplace, we are now embarking on a set of visual contracts for the agricultural industry, which are ground-breaking in their appoach. In particular, the Fair Work Ombudsman have been very impressed by the rigorous testing process we employ, which validates the work and ensures we are on message every time. It is this aspect which really shows how rich and meaningful the content of our work is across a wide cultural and linguistic audience.
In the near future we are also working on a government initiative, which is aimed at a mainstream audience. This also fits with our belief that we are all diverse in some way and this should be celebrated in the way we represent our socielty. This initiative will allow us to also address the youth market who increasingly want information graphically presented as opposed to text. Our product is appropriate for social media and we hope that soon clients will expand into developing the product into apps.
Fair Work Ombudsman
Assistant Director Education Resources
- 61 499 498 777
The Fair Work Ombudsman approached BeInSync to create a product addressing defined issues in the Australian workplace, in particular involving CALD communities. Using research conducted by the FWO and case studies we produced a series of six scenarios addressing these issues as a means to increase awareness of rights and responsiblities. These were aimed at both employees and employers.
LLULAS Universal Communication was used as the basis to create these six animations on Australian work place laws for a diverse cultural, linguistic and literacy audience. The involved rigorous testing and participation of the target audience in the development as well as a deep understanding of cross cultural communication. This universal communication tool cuts across barriers to diversity and creates greater social cohesion in Australia. It provides a tool to empower those with little understanding of their rights to actively participate in Australian society, especially in the work place.
Communication Adviser (CALD)
NSW Fair Trading was the lead agency in an Australian-wide campaign to raise awareness of Consumer Rights and Responsibilities, in particular across the widest and most culturally diverse audience possible. A lack of understanding within some culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia about consumer rights, was disadvantaging these consumers. The series of six animations, using LLULAS Universal Communication, was produced based on authentic stories collected during consultation with our target audience. Rigorous testing and inclusion of participants's feedback ensured buy-in as well as a high level of cultural understanding. Again, this enables greater awareness across the community of consumer rights and this knowledge contributes to empowerment and greater social cohesion.
The My Consumer Rights series of six animations is used by all the consumer protection agencies around Australia. They have had thousands of hits on YouTube and on website pages. The demand has been so great that further language versions were created two years later. This series is used by settlement agencies and TESOL teachers around Australia to empower new arrivals with their consumer rights in an engaging manner. Our first animation on Heatwave, made in 2010 is still shown every summer by the local councils who commissioned them. Animations do not age as quickly as video so provide a long shelf life for our clients. For Queensland Fair Trading we produced a LLULAS animation on Buying a used car. When the laws in the state changed, we were very easily and inexpensively able to change a few sentences and text in the animation to keep it relevant. For the Fair Work Ombudsman, so far the response to the LLULAS animations we produced has been very strong. Two months after they were launched we were asked to produce a further ten language versions and we are now working on a new project, using our LLULAS product. Now, that our product is used Australia-wide we are seeing a greater awareness of the product which is creating a steady client base, both repeat and new clients. This has impacted BeInSync's financial base and allowed us to develop into other markets. We are increasing our capacity to meet growing need and at the same time exploring international markets such as the US, Canada and New Zealand - all culturally diverse nations.