Read time: 2 minutes 30 seconds
To reach all your audience, you need to make good use of accessible communication formats. These are also known as 'alternative formats'.
Involve people from your audience in developing and reviewing your strategy.
They will know what they need. You can also approach disability organisations for advice.
Your strategy should outline:
- How you will anticipate the needs of people with temporary, situational or permanent disability.
- What standards are in place.
- Who is responsible and who will pay for the accessible formats.
- What type of information you will prioritise.
- How to ensure you communicate successfully with people with communication difficulties.
- What communication tools are available to help people get their message across and understand what people are telling them
- How you will monitor the strategy.
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- Communication Access (Scope Australia) - information about how to achieve the Communication Access Symbol.
- Involve relevant experts, such as marketing and communications, from the earliest planning stages.
- Consider the needs of your audience in advance. Assess which, if any, accessible format versions are likely to be required.
- Plan ahead. Make sure the accessible formats are available at the same time as the standard print.
- If you intend to supply accessible formats on demand. You should produce these within a few days of the request. Make sure you are in contact with a range of suppliers. Make sure they can produce good quality materials in accessible formats.
- Make sure any consultation period is not reduced for people with disability. This could be due to accessible formats not being available at the launch, or running out during the consultation period.
Is your communication or campaign targeted at people with a particular disability? Or do you know there will be a high proportion of people with a particular disability in your audience?
Some formats suit one type of disability more than another:
Learning disability and literacy difficulties
Consider the preferences your target audience has for receiving information.
For example younger people may respond better to text messages than sub-titled advert. Researching your audience will help you understand what they need.
Keep it simple.
Making your content more accessible will reduce the need for producing accessible formats. It will also appeal to a greater number of people.
Different communication channels you choose are just as important as the accessible formats you provide or offer.
For example, you may have produced a print recruitment advert for a vacant job. Translating this into braille is unlikely to be the best method of reaching all people with visual disability.
It can be more time-consuming and tiring to absorb the same amount of information listening to an audiotape or CD, or watching sign language than scanning through a document by eye.
The most important thing is that the information or messages are received. So consider providing a summary of important points in accessible formats.
Give the key points and a contact telephone number for further information.