The Accessible Information Services Team provide transcription services, practical information and consultancy to ensure materials are able to be easily understood or accessed by anyone living with low or no vision or a print disability. For example:
- Printed materials (eg. books, documents)
- Digital/online information (eg. websites, apps, videos and podcasts)
- Physical spaces (eg. workplaces, public areas).
We assist individuals with low vision, businesses or schools/university with staff or students who are vision impaired, care facilities and more. Our services include:
Print Disability Services Program
VisAbility is one of only two service providers included in the Federal Government’s Print Disability Services Program for 2021-2024 (link opens in new window).
The program provides funding to produce alternative formats of printed and digital material, to meet the needs of people living with a print disability and improve access to printed products for all Australians. This includes:
Print/alternative format transcription
As part of this program, we provide transcription of printed materials into different formats upon request. This could be:
- Large print
- Tactile graphics
- DAISY audio format (Digital Accessible Information System).
Types of materials include:
Fiction and non-fiction storybooks, textbooks and instruction manuals etc can be transcribed into large print, braille, audio or special audio book format, known as DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) which is playable through special DAISY audio book players.
Documents such as Disability Access Inclusion Plans (DAIPs), utility bills, student study resources, exam papers, recipes, menus or even knitting patterns.
Maps or other types of image/visual material can be produced in a tactile (touchable) format.
Sheet music can be produced in Braille format.
Computer files, such as word documents, spreadsheets or existing audio recordings (including analogue cassette tapes) can be transcribed into Braille and/or audio formats.
Eligible people living with a print disability can access fiction and non-fiction audio books in DAISY format or Braille books. Books are available free of charge by download or postal service from the VisAbility Library service.
The VisAbility Library is one of the largest digital libraries in the Southern hemisphere, with more than 70,000 titles available. Specific books can be requested for transcription on demand through the Library website.
Easy English is writing so that people who have a low level of English literacy (functionally illiterate) can understand the information contained in a document. It is estimated that around 44% of Australians aged 15 – 74 are functionally illiterate*.
- Low level English literacy can be due to:
- Intellectual or cognitive disability
- People with a culturally and linguistically diverse background
- Age – a greater proportion of people aged over 60 have lower levels of literacy.
It is important that companies and organisations provide information that customers or users can easily understand. Not only does this reduce frustration for the user, but it can build trust and increase confidence in the organisation.
The key features of Easy English include:
- Short sentences
- Simple, everyday words
- Large text size
- Blank space between sentences
- Images to support the meaning of the text
View an example of our Easy English documents (PDF, 739kb) for the Print Disability Services Program.
App and Website Accessibility Standards
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community of member organisations that work together to create a “web for all”. To share knowledge, regardless of disability, native language, hardware or software.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
W3C develop internationally recognised website standards, including the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) which aims to make web content more accessible to people with a range of disabilities.
WCAG 1.0 was released in 1999 with revisions in 2008 to WCAG 2.0, followed by WCAG 2.1 in 2018, which expanded to include guidance for web content on mobile devices. The current minimum accepted standard, internationally, is WCAG 2.0.
Website accessibility evaluation
We will conduct a thorough assessment of your website, to ensure it is WCAG 2.1 compliant and can be accessed by anyone living with vision impairment.
An accessibility report with detailed recommendations for revisions will follow and we will work with your development team to help implement the necessary updates.
Our Accessible Information Services provide individuals and workplaces with access to information, facilities and services. This can range from providing students with vision impairment their study resources in an accessible format, to assisting workplaces in creating accessible websites or physical spaces.
Our highly qualified Disability Access Consultants can assess workplaces, schools, care facilities and open spaces and provide recommendations to plan and create safe and engaging environments and facilities for people with vision impairment or disability.
Braille allows people who are blind, especially those who are deaf and blind, to access information. Braille is an important means to learn literacy skills so they can read and write independently.
Evidence shows that braille readers have better educational and employment opportunities.
Braille is made up of different mixes of up to 6 dots in a cell:
When the dots are embossed onto paper, they can be felt with a single touch of a finger. We use special thicker-grade paper, in A4 booklet format, or with larger pages (27.5 x 29cm).
When we produce a braille document, we carefully consider the purpose of the document and the braille reader’s needs. We use Australian standards for the production and formatting of Unified English Braille (in line with the Australian Braille Authority).
We produce braille as Grade 1 (uncontracted or letter-for-letter) braille and Grade 2 (contracted) braille (using shortened forms of words, similar to how “road” is often represented as “rd” in print).
We can also provide print formats that show the braille and print words together.
Our braille production team can transcribe a wide variety of documents and books, including university level mathematics and music. We also produce braille for business cards.
If you are interested in learning Braille, we offer weekly Braille Classes for people with vision impairment or for sighted people looking to support someone eg. a child, with low vision.
Accessible Information Team
The Accessible Information Team includes:
- Braille specialists
- Web accessibility specialists
- Audio and video production specialists
- Disability access consultants
- Easy English specialist
Ready to use our Accessibility Services
How to get support
Please complete the form below to make an initial enquiry about the low vision services and support we can provide. Our Client Experience Team will contact you to discuss your individual needs both now and into the future.
If you are a provider and wish to refer a client, please use our low vision medical certificate (online referral form) to make your referral.