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Types of alternate formats

An alternate format is web or print content that has been converted into a different format so that it’s accessible and usable by disabled people.

The types of alternate formats you need to consider will depend on people’s needs.

There are 5 types of alternate formats:

Audio

Many blind or vision-impaired people and some dyslexic or learning disabled people need content provided in audio for them to be able to access it.

Audio is a recording of a person or computer reading written material and describing any images or graphics.

Digital copy

Digital content, such as web pages, can automatically be read out loud to users with text-to-speech or screen reader software. There are also browser plug-ins and extensions that will do this for users.

If a separate audio version of the content is prepared, it can be provided as a downloadable file on a website.

Hard copy

The audio version of the content can be provided as a file on a CD or USB drive.

More about audio format

To understand more about the needs of people who require audio as an alternate format, contact Blind Citizens NZ.

Braille

Many blind and vision-impaired people need content to be in braille for them to be able to access it.

What is braille?

Digital copy

Digital content can automatically be read in braille using special software and hardware.

Hard copy

Content can be typed or printed in braille and delivered as a hard copy braille document.

More about braille

To understand more about the needs of people who require braille as an alternate format, contact Blind Citizens NZ.

Easy Read

Many people with learning or intellectual disabilities need content to be provided in Easy Read format to make it clear and easy to understand.

Easy Read can also make content more accessible for Deaf people, people who are older, or people who have low literacy or English as a second language.

Two of the main characteristics of Easy Read information are that:

  • text is broken into very short sentences, each expressing just a single idea using active, rather than passive, language.
  • each sentence is accompanied by an image that represents the idea in the sentence.

Digital and hard copies

Easy Read can be produced as a digital document, for example, a web page or a downloadable PDF. It can also be provided as a printed hard copy document.

More about Easy Read

To understand more about the needs of people who require the Easy Read format, contact People First NZ.

Large print

Many people with low vision need content to be in large print for them to be able to access it.

Large print is text content with a typeface or font that is larger than normal, typically a minimum size of 16 points in print.

Digital copy

The size of text in web pages and other digital formats can be automatically increased by the user to whatever size they prefer.

Hard copies

Large print content should follow best practice in print design to make sure that documents are well structured and easier to read — for example, the Guidelines for Producing Clear Print – Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities (PDF 804KB).

More about large print

To understand more about the needs of people who require large print as an alternate format, contact Blind Citizens NZ.

NZSL video

Many Deaf and hard-of-hearing people need content to be in New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) for them to access it.

NZSL is its own language. It’s a visual and gestural language, with its own syntax and grammar that is different to English. Unlike braille, it’s not a representation of English or of any other spoken and written language.

For many Deaf people, English is not their first language so they find reading English more difficult and can access and comprehend content better in NZSL.

As sign languages are wholly visual languages, providing content in NZSL means showing a video of someone who is signing in NZSL. The video can include logos, fonts and other branding elements so it visually relates to the original content.

Digital copy

Its typical for NZSL videos to be delivered on the web.

Hard copies

If needed, NZSL videos can be distributed via CD or USB drive.

More about NZSL video

To understand more about the needs of people who require NZSL video as an alternate format, contact Deaf Aotearoa.

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