Coronavirus and accessible information

As Governments across the UK, health officials and businesses grapple with the spread of coronavirus, the outbreak highlights the importance of effective and accessible communication, so everyone knows how to keep themselves and the community safe. 

There are around 121,000 people living with sight loss in Wales today. One in five people aged 75 and over have sight loss and many blind and partially sighted people have comorbidities. It is therefore essential that information about changes in policy, procedures or advice, is accessible, giving it the best chance of reaching those at high risk from the virus.

All public bodies are in a high-pressure, fast-moving situation where vital information has to be communicated to the public extremely quickly. This can lead to such communications not going through the usual processes and accessibility checks. 

What should service providers and public bodies be doing?

In Wales, the NHS should be following the All Wales Standards for Accessible Communication and Information for People with Sensory Loss providing information in people’s preferred format. The Equality Act also requires all service providers to make “reasonable adjustments” to support disabled people, including providing information “in an accessible format”.

This means ensuring that online information can be read easily with standard user settings, magnifying software and screen readers. Use RNIB’s tips to help make sure your online information is accessible and follow the links to further guidance.

Quick tips for digital accessibility

  • Use clear, formatted headings, to help screen reader users navigate your document or webpage
     
  • Do not use images of text to convey information as they cannot be read by screen readers
     
  • Ensure text can be resized and background and text colors can be modified to suit the reading preferences of users
     
  • Make sure links are written out to describe the document or resource they send the user to
     
  • Make sure information or explainer videos convey the same information in the audio voiceover as the images on screen
     
  • Use image descriptions to share the information given in an image or photograph
     
  • Ensure all downloadable content (Word or PDF) is made accessible.

Further Resources

RNIB can help make sure your communications are accessible to blind and partially sighted people. Get in touch with our RNIB Business team on 01733 375 370 or find out more using the links below:

How to guides:

Policy and Guidance