Standalone Accessible Element

Alternative Formats

Some individuals will require information or tasks to be provided in a format they can access. An obvious example for people with a visual impairment is large print. Other formats include Braille for those with no vision or Easy Read – a format particularly useful for those with a learning or cognitive disability.


Sometimes an alternative format could be as straightforward as providing an electronic version of a paper document which then allows the individual to increase the size of the text, impose their own font, color preferences, or read it out using their own screen reading software. In these cases, it is vital to check that, in every case, the electronic version you are providing is able to accommodate these preferences. If in doubt try to confirm this internally or, failing that, send it out for the individual to check – but make sure you mention that it hasn’t been checked and may not be accessible and that you will provide another version if it proves problematic.


One brief comment on individuals that require different colored backgrounds. If they have specified a background (such as beige) and you have identified that the paper document cannot be provided in this color, or the electronic document or task cannot be made to reflect this preference, then you could investigate if they are able to put a colored overlay (see-through plastic sheet) over the document or screen. These are very inexpensive, and you can purchase overlays in a range of colors from a number of online suppliers.


It’s not always easy, but there is a responsibility to provide information, particularly key information for recruitment and employment, in the required alternative format wherever possible. There is, however, a recognition that it might not always be reasonable to provide all information or tasks in certain formats where undue expense or complexity is involved. For example, Braille production is relatively inexpensive for small documents but extremely costly for lengthy documents with diagrams or maps that either need to be converted into a text description or recreated on tactile plasticized paper with Braille annotations.

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