Promoting your service
Some advice on marketing effectively to blind and partially sighted people. This has been produced in consultation with the Right to Read Alliance, a group of charities campaigning together for better access to books for people with sight loss.
The principle of equal access to information and reading services for all should be the starting point. This should underpin any marketing strategy or events aimed at blind and partially sighted people and their families and carers.
When planning your marketing information, consider the following:
- The number of people registered as blind or partially sighted reflects only a third of those eligible to be registered.
- Mobility is a vital issue for blind and partially sighted people and the quality of transport available will vary so information about transport should be always be included in marketing information.
- Find out about your local society for blind people through Visionary, a charity that links together local organisations for people with sight loss. These groups operate at grass roots level and can be particularly valuable in terms of getting information directly to and from blind and partially sighted people.
- RNIB have the Sightline Directory - a directory for services aimed at helping blind or partially sighted people.
- Why not set up a users group of people with sight loss as part of your strategy? Or develop a list of local contacts.
- Special events, taster sessions and launches can be extremely effective ways of promoting services.
- Your authority should have a Six Steps Champion, someone whose role is to promote the access of library services to blind and partially sighted people.
Make sure that your posters and other printed publicity material are accessible to people with sight loss. RNIB provide advice on accessible information
RNIB’s Clear Print guidelines will help you to achieve a good design which everyone can read. Creating a ‘clear print’ document is straightforward and inexpensive, focusing on basic design elements such as font, type size, contrast and page navigation. Not only will partially sighted people benefit, but your sighted audience will find the information easier to read too.
Consider transcribing your materials into alternative formats such as braille and audio - your local society for blind people may be able to help or try the RNIB’s transcription services
Here are some tips for making your webpages better for people with sight loss. Information presented in a clear, consistent manner, significantly increases both the usability and accessibility of a site. These tips have been adapted from RNIB's Writing for the Web guidance.
- Jargon and technical language should be avoided where possible. Capitals used for whole phrases, sentences and paragraphs can be difficult to read for some users (the shapes of lower case letters are easier to see). Text should be presented in standard sentence case.
- Italics on monitors can, for some people, create a shimmering effect that makes them much more difficult to read. Occasional individual words in italics can be acceptable, but as with the use of capital letters, it should be avoided for whole phrases, sentences or paragraphs.
- Underlining whole phrases, sentences or paragraphs may produce similar problems of legibility, as this obscures part of the shape of letters. It should also generally be avoided except in the case of hyperlinked text, since underlining is commonly understood to indicate a hyperlink. So the use of underline for text that isn't a hyperlink has the potential to confuse users.
- Link text, ALT text, page titles and headings should be clear and to the point. Put the key information at the start of the link, ALT or heading. This makes it easier for the eyes to scan and is especially helpful to screen reader and braille output users who listen to pages very quickly and sometimes only to the start of sentences.
- Where possible, to aid navigation, try using the same link text as page titles or headings. This helps all users confirm that they are indeed on the correct page. It is also helpful for screen reader and braille output users as they can navigate around a page by listing links and headings.