Day 1 - Why accessibility matters

Spectators at a baseball game showing Equality vs Equity Imagine you are going to see a baseball game. The barrier is high, so everyone is given the same box to help them see over it. This works if you’re already tall, not so much if you’re short.

Everyone is treated equally, but this isn’t fair. A fair, or equitable, solution enables everyone to watch the baseball game – providing shorter people with a step as high as they need, so the game is accessible to all three fans. 

Imagine now that you’re not going to a baseball game, but you’re going to a lecture, looking at a poster at a conference, or reading an information leaflet. If you have conditions affecting your vision or perception of language, the way in which the information is presented can pose a significant obstacle to understanding and learning. In order for that information to be accessible to all, care must be taken in how that information is presented. That’s the equitable solution.

The need for accessible information online was recognised by new accessibility requirements for public sector bodies, which came into force in the UK on 23rd of September 2018. These regulations mean that public sector websites and mobile apps will need to be accessible to all users, especially those with disabilities. So new websites published on or after 23rd of September 2018 will have to be compliant within one year and existing websites within two years. 

Some organisations and types of content do not need to meet the new standards but hospitals, and further and higher education institutions, are all included within ‘public sector bodies’. These regulations establish in law the expectation that information should be presented in an accessible format, benefiting all readers and widening access to those who would otherwise be excluded. 

The good news is that creating accessible materials shouldn’t create more work or take a great deal of time; by simply making the right design choices you can create resources that are accessible. This blog series will guide you through making these changes to your slides, posters, and other materials used in communication with staff, students and patients, so you can reach everyone in your intended audience. 

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