Transcription and the Importance of Accessibility

Transcription for the Blind and the Importance of Accessibility. Since October 2010, under the Equality Act, it is considered discrimination, should a website not be accessible to the disabled. Accessibility can mean a number of things, including making information accessible in different formats and for different devices, such as mobile phones, PCs, televisions, etc. Here, we are talking about ensuring your documents are accessible to the disabled.  When transcribing for the blind or visually impaired, whether it be typing up an interview into a script format, typing out a letter or even copy typing from hard copy, there are things that need to be considered in order to make your document’s content fully accessible to your reader.

At Transcription City, we can use Word 2010 Accessibility Checker to ensure an adequate level of accessibility. We can provide you with the option not only to type out your document in a way that makes it fully accessible to every reader but we also provide a service to check and repair any accessibility issues in your current documents.

But it’s not only about the law! Many businesses now use online SEO as their main marketing strategy. You can make videos, post pictures online, write blogs and use social networks online to advertise your company, but if your documents, videos and blogs aren’t accessible to everybody, you may be missing out on a big slice of the market.

Here are of the most commonly occurring accessibility issues and errors, as well as some basic facts about the Accessibility Checker option on Word 2010.

  • Contents Page, Index and Structure. To make your Word document easily accessible to the blind, it’s important to use hyperlinks in your contents and to have a contents page to organise your data. For most of us, the omission of a contents page may not cause much of a problem, even in the longest of documents. We can simply scroll through pages and pages, and just visually pick out titles and skim over what we see. Disabled readers do not have this option, so information needs to be well organised in order to be fully accessible to this audience.
  • Tables and the Flow of Text. There are many ways to collate information and there are many visual techniques we can use to display the information we have collated. Often, especially in financial documents, we will use tabs, tables and even charts to display statistics, facts and findings. We will often think through the best way to visually display the ideas we want to get across to our readers, but what about for those who can’t physically see our charts and tables? Accessibility means making sure every table has a heading bar denoted, and the text flows correctly, in order to make the most sense to the reader. For instance, tables are often preferable to tabs when creating two columns as rather than just displaying information that ‘looks right’, it ensures that it will be conveyed probably to the reader. Using Accessibility Checker, we can confirm that the text has the right ‘flow’ to make sense to every possible audience, avoiding blank rows, and split, merged or nested cells.
  • Image Naming. Images and objects within documents will need to be named appropriately and fit in within the text. For instance, all images need to be in line with text to be in the correct position in relation to what is being read. For this reason, floating objects need to be avoided. Watermarks should also be avoided within your document.
  • In Accessibility Checker, your information may come up with an Error, Warning or Tip. An error will render a serious hindrance to the disabled reading your transcript or Word document. A Warning may pose a significant hindrance, but if unavoidable, will not make your document incomprehensible to your audience. A Tip will simply display to indicate any appropriate ways to improve your documents accessibility if you are looking to go that extra mile.

These are just a few of the key issues that need to be looked into when making your documents accessible to disabled audiences online. At Transcription City, we can look at your current documents and perform accessibility checks, followed by the appropriate amendments, to make your information available to the blind. All errors will be rectified as well as warnings where applicable, and any tips referred to you in order for you to decide the best action to take. Not only can we amend and reformat your current documents, but we can at your request, transcribe your interviews, letters, focus groups, reports and statements to immediately follow the accessibility rules, saving you the hassle later on!

Transcription City’s accessible transcription service for the blind is highly recommended for authors, journalists and other professionals who want to ensure equality in the distribution of their information.