Alternative communication formats

Not everyone can use written text, even in the largest font size. This may be because of the nature of a visual impairment, or it may be because English is not someone's first language, including those who use British Sign Language. People with Dyslexia also have difficulty with written text.

Communicators need to make effective use of non-text communication formats. Organisations have responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act to provide reasonable alternatives to text for people.

Development of a strategy

All organisations should have a strategy for producing information in non-text formats. It should outline:

  • how you will anticipate the needs
  • what minimum standards are in place
  • who is responsible
  • what type(s) of information will be given priority
  • how you will enforce and monitor the strategy

Make sure that you have quick access to a range of suppliers who can produce good quality materials in alternative formats.

Keep it simple – if the initial document is written in plain English, is as concise as possible and is laid out well and with a minimum of 12 point font size, it will be accessible to a greater number of people and may reduce demand for alternative versions.

There are a wide range of text and non-text formats: see Format Information for more about the following:

  • British Sign Language
  • Subtitling
  • Braille
  • Moon
  • Makaton
  • audio
  • audio description
  • DVD and CD-ROM
  • telephone
  • textphone