26 May 2020
Are disabled people being left out during Covid-19?
Information is essential to us all right now. But with companies hunkering down and working tirelessly just to stay afloat, are alternative formats dropping to the bottom of the priority list? And is that OK?
We all need to protect our staff, clients and customers. Businesses are being forced to make very difficult decisions and priorities are understandably changing.
Amidst all this turmoil, we are starting to wonder whether people with disabilities are being put at a disadvantage when it comes to access to information.
We are seeing less requests for alternative print formats such as Braille, Large Print and Audio CD. However, information such as coronavirus messages, employment correspondence and financial statements still need to be accessed by everyone.
Many people are working from home. Most people are spending more time at home and more time online. And this is no different for people with disabilities. Online information needs to be accessible too.
We’ve been advocating online accessibility for some time, and the current situation has brought this requirement to the forefront. It is essential now more than ever that online information is accessible.
We don’t have the answer to how businesses prioritise during this crisis – it’s different for everyone – but we would ask you to consider who your readers are and can they access all the information you’re posting right now?
Here’s some ideas that you might want to consider…
- E-Text – any documents that are read digitally, such as PDFs, ePubs and Docx, can be made accessible. This means that blind people who are reading them with the help of adaptive software can access them too.
- BSL videos – if you’re communicating more with videos, consider adding Sign Language
- Easy Read – do you have clients with learning disabilities? Easy Read versions make the information clearer, and can be developed as documents, videos, or surveys
- Websites – ideally websites should be designed from scratch to follow WCAG Accessibility standards. This can be a long-term process, but you could start with an access audit for your site.
- Social Media – make sure you add text alternatives to any images. Check out our Social Media accessibility blog for more information.
- Audio – why not publish an audio version of any publications or general communications online? You can email copies to specific customers, or just send them the link.
- Other communications – don’t forget that Braille, Large Print, and Audio CDs are still the preferred method of communication for many people and sometimes it’s the only way that they will be able to access vital information.
Can we help you with production?
Our offices are still open, we have the majority of transcription staff preparing documents from home, with a small production team able to dispatch safely from our offices.
If you’re making documentation available online we can help make sure it is accessible.