Media Access Australia has produced a comprehensive quick reference guide for accessible communications. Although the target audience is service providers that deliver support to NDIS participants, it is useful for all organisations that want to make their information accessible. The contents include information on how people with disability access online information, producing and distributing messages, publishing content online, accessible emails, and engaging with social media. Examples of where this Guide may provide useful information include:
- Setting up a new computer for a person with a disability.
- Formatting internal documents in an accessible way to help employees with a disability.
- Creating an accessible website.
- Ensuring that people with disabilities can access important social media messages from a service provider.
The original guide was funded by Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs in 2013.
Event organisers not only have to consider physical access – they also have to consider communication access for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. However, while one in six people in Australia have a hearing loss, this aspect of events is often forgotten by event organisers and venue managers. Communication accessibility is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act. While some venues claim that a hearing loop is installed, this may not be sufficient, particularly if it is not functioning as is often the case. Also, not all deaf people wear hearing aids with the requisite “T” switch.
Deaf Children Australia have produced a comprehensive set of guidelines for event organisers covering Auslan interpreters, live captioning, and hearing loop technology. At the end of the guidelines is a useful checklist.
People who have a hearing loss often choose not to reveal this aspect of themselves, consequently organisers receive little, if any, feedback about the efficacy or otherwise of hearing loops. People with and without hearing loss often find captioning useful particularly if they have English as a second language, or if the speaker has an unfamiliar accent. More technical detail on hearing loops can be found on the Clearasound website.
The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland has a comprehensive Toolkit that takes potential purchasers of IT systems through the process of procurement, inlcuding assessing potential suppliers, and overseeing the successful implementation of accessibility features. It also shows how to build the skills required to manage the accessibility of the resulting system and user interfaces once the set-up phase is complete. This means ensuring that documents staff produce for uploading to the website also meet the accessibility criteria.
Download the IT Procurement Toolkit here.
To find out how to improve the accessibility of a website, you must find out the current level of accessibility. A web accessibility audit measures the accessibility level of your website against accessibility standards. It should lead to a list of actions to make your site more accessible to all users. This useful resource from Centre for Excellence in Universal Design will help demystify the auditing process, and help identify the actions you need to take.