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Are your communications catering for all?

National Eye Health Week – from 24 to 30 September 2018 – is designed to encourage people to think about the steps they can take to keep their sight in good order for as long as possible.

But have you ever thought about your communications and how well they work for those with a visual impairment?

According to Vision Matters, the partnership of organisations behind the awareness week, over two million people in the UK live with sight loss severe enough to have a significant impact on their daily lives. That’s an awful lot of people who may be missing out on messages because they simply can’t see them.

Sight is the sense that people fear losing the most, but it doesn’t have to mean that reading is impossible. There are varying degrees of sight loss, but even for those who have a severe form, there are some simple things that can be done to ensure communications are accessible.

The RNIB has produced a great factsheet which outlines steps organisations can take to make their materials suitable for those with sight loss.

Key points include:

  • Ask your audience what they need. It sounds simple, but this is something that is often overlooked. Readers’ needs will often depend on the type of equipment they use to help them read, and they will be best placed to tell you how this works.
  • Keep the layout and structure of your documents as simple as possible. This helps with the effectiveness of devices like magnifiers and scanners.
  • Use clear formatting. Good formatting makes a document easier to transcribe into Braille, audio and other formats.
  • Use a clear, sans serif font in at least 14 point.
  • Avoid columns where possible.

The full list of tips can be found here and, whilst specifically aimed at catering for those with sight loss, the list includes some useful principles for any piece of communication.

Streamlining and stripping back your messages until you have only the bare essentials is a useful exercise for anyone wanting to create communications with impact. If you’d like some help making your messages more accessible or tailoring documents to a specific audiencecontact us today.

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