What are Accessible Formats

Accessible formats are alternatives to standard sized printed information which are used by blind and partially sighted people, or others with a print disability.

Over recent weeks we have been continually asked to describe in detail what accessible formats are. When discussing accessibility it seems people often draw on the obvious, making spaces accessible, buildings accessible, facilities accessible, making formats and resources accessible are not what spring to mind in the first instance when raising awareness of accessibility.

As a qualified teacher and a QTVI, I have always been aware of the barriers faced by people with a print impairment. Offering all sectors and industries the opportunity to provide accessible formats to offer inclusion to all is what V I Resourcing is passionate about. We work closely with various sectors including, Examining boards, NHS trusts, Training providers and corporate organisations to offer specialist training aids and providing resources in accessible formats.

Accessible formats can include:

  • large print – this is the most common request and with a few basic guidelines the simplest to produce. It is worth considering developing a template where a document can be enlarged in such a way that it conforms to best practice guidelines.
  • digital audio – it is a common misconception that it needs an individual to sit down and read an entire document. There are a number of free options for automatically recording documents.
  • electronic text – many customers will be happy to receive a word file but this does need to be properly formatted at the point of creation so that it is compatible with assistive screen reader technology. This is a software application which reads the document.
  • Braille – in most cases this will need to be passed to an external transcription agency. However, if your original document is formatted well the cost of production should be as low as possible.
  • e-Book – this is growing in popularity and there are a number of ways an e-book can be produced. This type of file will often be used with devices such as the Kindle.
  • Accessible PDFs – Accessible PDFs are electronic files which are specially prepared for use with text to speech and screen reader assistive technology. Students who have dyslexia, visual impairment and other difficulties in reading print can benefit from the use of accessible electronic files

From a company handbook to an international exam paper or perhaps contracts of employment to an agenda for a meeting all of these documents can be provided in a wide range of accessible formats and made available for people with a print impairment.

We can offer advice and testing to ensure that any document is accessible, our team of specialists have a wide range of skills and experience and are always happy to discuss at length how we can help to make your organisation get ahead of your competitors and offer total inclusion to all.

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