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Kent Association for the Blind

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KAB's Transcription Service can transcribe your information into a range of accessible formats such as audio, large print and Braille. For a business, making your brochures, price lists and service information accessible means you are not excluding potential customers. For the health, housing and care sectors, meeting the information needs of all your clients will not only mean that you are complying with the 2010 Equality Act, but also that you give excellent service.

To find out more or discuss your requirements please call the transcription department on 01622 691357. Alternatively you can email your enquiry to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  to request a quotation.

Recent clients include:

  • Women’s Institute
  • Civil Service Retirement Fellowship
  • Kent Community Health NHS Trust
  • Town & Country Housing Group www.tchg.org.uk
  • Kent County Council
  • Swale Borough Council
  • Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

The Equality Act has strengthened and extended the way people protected against discrimination are safeguarded.

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. It sets out the different ways in which it's unlawful to treat someone and makes it clear what you need to do to make your business or organisation's services comply with the law.

How the Equality Act affects your organisation

Under the Act, you have a duty to make reasonable adjustments (or changes) to avoid putting people with disabilities at a substantial disadvantage compared to those who are not disabled. The duty deals with three different requirements:

  1. Provisions, criteria or practices - including company policies.
  2. Physical features, such as the layout of and access to shops.
  3. Provision of auxiliary aids - including providing information in an accessible format such as braille, large print or email.

The duty is anticipatory, which means you cannot wait until a disabled person wants to use your services, but must think in advance (and on an on-going basis) about what disabled people with a range of impairments might reasonably need; such as people with sight impairments.

Examples of reasonable adjustments

The following are examples of reasonable adjustments under the three different requirements of the duty:

      Reasonable adjustment under the provisions criteria or practices requirement:

  • A train operator introduces disability awareness training that includes information about how to interact with blind or partially sighted customers. This is because they received feedback that station staff did not seem to know how to help a blind or partially sighted customer.

      Reasonable adjustment under the physical features requirement:

  • A small shop paints its door frame in a contrasting colour to assist blind or partially sighted customers.

      Reasonable adjustment under the provision of auxiliary aids requirement:

  • A bank provides monthly statements in audio or Braille formats for blind or partially sighted customers.

What formats do I need to produce and in what volume?

That really depends on the type of information you have, and most importantly the requirements of your audience. If you know individuals have specific requirements the best way to meet those requirements is to ask them. A simple question like "What is your preferred reading format?" can save a large amount of time and money, and is likely to be appreciated by the individual concerned.

If you are not able to assess the requirements of your audience in advance you may be able to produce the appropriate numbers based on previous requests, or request a few copies in common formats - it is much quicker to produce more copies than to transcribe a new document.


Specialist formats

 

Audio
Some sight impaired people need to listen to documents as they simply cannot see to read print. Audio is a key way for sight impaired people to access information. There are now many ways to record the human voice from mobile phones to digital recorders.  KAB believes that the best way for a document to be presented in a recorded format is for it to be read and recorded by a skilled narrator in a studio environment.  This recording can then be saved onto a CD, memory stick or attached to an email as an audio file.  It is possible for documents to be recorded into speech electronically, however the voice that reads these documents is synthetic and often takes some skill to understand.

To listen to an example of what a synthetic voice sounds like, click the play button.

Braille
Braille is a series of raised dots on a page which form letters, words and sentences.  Skilled Braillists can read Braille documents with a high degree of accuracy and speed allowing access to educational and other materials.   Braille can also be used to access computers and other technologies.  Some sight impaired people simply use Braille to label household items.  Although only a relatively small percentage of sight impaired people use Braille (around 5%) it is essential that service providers supply their information in a range of accessible formats, to give customers a choice. Braille can be produced on a machine rather like an old fashioned type writer which punches the dots through thick sheets of paper, or in larger volumes from an embossing printer attached to a computer. 


10 ways to make your information more accessible

  1. Use a font size of 16 to 24 point. We can be criticised for making things too small but it's unlikely we'll be criticised for making it too large. If in doubt use a larger type size.
  2. If you want to stress or highlight a piece of text, use bold. Don't use italics or underlining: both are much harder for sight impaired people to read because they change the shape of letters, and make character recognition harder.
  3. If you want to print the document, use a normal type weight. Even though a light option saves ink, it means the contrast between text and background is poor, so it's harder to read.
  4. Always align your text to the left margin only. Don't indent the first word of a paragraph, this can make the start of the line difficult to find. Justified text - i.e. aligned to both left and right margins - might look neater to you, but it gives irregular spacing between words. That can make sight impaired readers think they've reached the end of a line when they haven't.
  5. If you are putting text in columns, then use a large gutter (the vertical blank space separating the columns) so that sight impaired readers don't accidentally read across it into the next column.
  6. If you use a photo, drawing or diagram, ensure they are high resolution (minimum 300 dpi), with good colour contrast and clear outlines.
  7. Always use a caption that explains what an image is, and never put the caption, or any other text, over the top of an image or a photo.
    Because we can't be sure that a sight impaired reader will be able to see and interpret a whole image (it's likely that only a small part of it may be seen at one time), try to make sure that the message in the image isn't crucial to the text. If it is, make sure there's a clear explanation in the text.
  8. Always use matt paper, as glossy paper and finishes reflect light off the surface and make them harder to read.
  9. Printing double-sided saves paper, but if you're using large print, do check that the type doesn't show through on the other side. If it does, use single-sided or thicker paper.
  10. A4 paper is a good size. Larger sheets are more likely to have to be folded, and that creates creases that can make text harder to read.

NHS England Accessible Information Standard

In addition to the Equalities Act, NHS England has recently launched The Accessible Information Standard which will be implemented on 31 July 2016. The standard aims to ensure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information that they can easily read or understand. All organisations that provide NHS or adult social care are required to follow the new standard, including NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts, and GP practices. For further information please visit https://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/07/access-info-standard/.

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