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Braille versions of coronavirus testing information will be available

Sight loss charity RNIB Scotland will produce braille versions of the Scottish Government Test and Protect guidance relating to the current coronavirus situation.

The move follows concerns that some blind and partially sighted people might be unable to access important health advice and guidance. In a survey of people with sight loss commissioned by RNIB in May, one in four respondents said they had struggled to get information in a format they could understand.

James Adams, director of RNIB Scotland, said: "In the current situation accessible healthcare information is more essential than ever. It is vitally important everyone knows how to keep themselves and their community safe, and that blind and partially sighted people, who can be particularly vulnerable, are kept informed of new developments and guidance.

"So, we are pleased to be able to assist the Scottish Government in making braille versions of information available on procedures for testing."

Braille is the tactile system of raised dots on paper that can be 'read' by fingertip touch. Although many blind and partially sighted people now use audio or screen-reading software to access information, thousands still use the system invented by Frenchman Louis Braille in 1837.

RNIB has produced guidelines on making information accessible to a range of public bodies and businesses. Some adjustments are relatively easy to make, points out Mr Adams.

"Even people who don't consider themselves sight-impaired can sometimes struggle with very small print, or with text that doesn't have a sharp enough contrast with the background colour," he said.

"Much information is now communicated electronically or online. For people who use screen-reading software - which reads out the text on websites or emails - this might not seem a problem. But some graphics can still confuse screen-readers, such as text superimposed on images, photos that don't have alt-tags, text that is justified on both sides, or even just sentences that don't end with a full stop.

"That's why it's absolutely vital that we give full consideration to how accessible our communications are."

Braille copies of Scottish Government Test and Protect information materials relating to the current coronavirus situation can be obtained from [email protected]. Test and Protect information is also available in audio and large-print format, as well as other languages and formats, from the Scottish Government website at