Types of alternate formats
An alternate format is web or print content that has been converted into a different format so that disabled people can access and use the information.
The types of alternate formats that should be provided will depend on the accessibility needs of your target audience.
There are 5 types of alternate formats:
Many people with vision impairments and some people with dyslexia or learning disabilities 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 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.
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.
Many blind and visually impaired people need content to be in braille for them to access it. For more details, see What is braille? — Blind Low Vision NZ.
Digital content can automatically be read in braille using special software and hardware.
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.
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.
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.
The size of text in web pages and other digital formats can be automatically increased by the user to whatever size they prefer.
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.
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.
It’s typical for NZSL videos to be delivered on the web.
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.