1.1 What is Accessible Information?

Accessible information can be defined in different ways and people have varying opinions about what accessible information means:

  • a visually impaired person might think of it as having information in
    • braille,
    • large print,
    • audio, e.g. a description of television programme,
    • voice output on computer, tablet or mobile phone
  • a profoundly deaf person might think of it as having information in British Sign Language (BSL) BSL is a language based on hand gestures, facial expressions and body language. It has its own grammatical structure and syntax. It is recognised by the UK and Scottish governments as an official minority language.
  • someone with a hearing loss might need an induction loop. An Induction Loop helps hearing aid users pick up sounds more clearly by reducing background noise. This is particularly useful in public places such as banks and lecture theatres.
  • someone with a learning disability might want information in an easy read format. Easy Read format uses pictures, straightforward simple language and clear layout to help people with learning disabilities understand written information.

It is important to remember that making information accessible is not about watering down the content or creating a summary. It is about:

  • following good practice guidelines to try to make all information as accessible as possible from the start, and
  • enabling individuals to access the information in different ways to suit their specific needs.
  • providing alternative formats, if needed