The Importance of Inclusive Communications
Diversity is one of the three pillars of the Foundation Practice Rating. Within this pillar is accessibility.
What is accessibility?
Accessibility is the “ability to access” and benefit from a system. It is about enabling access for disabled people or enabling access through the use of assistive technology.
What accessibility is not
Accessibility is different from usability, which is where for example a device can be used by different users to achieve their goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction.
What have we found?
We have found that very few foundations had mechanisms to communicate with people that have visual or hearing impairments. This is an important finding because:
- 1 in 5 people have a disability in the UK;
- 2 million people in the UK have a visual impairment;
- 15% of the UK are neurodiverse.
Accessible communications benefit all audiences by making information clear, direct and easy to understand. It takes account of barriers and looks at utilising tools to decrease and even remove the barriers disabled people face.
As a sector we need to become better at making our communications more accessible.
There are many ways in which we can do this. However, we have 3 suggestions below:
- One of the tools we have adopted is recite me, which is a plugin that gives the user tools to individualise and customise website content to meet their needs. By providing accessibility and language options on our website, we are removing barriers for those with disabilities, learning difficulties, visual impairments, and who speak English as a second language. To access the recite me assistive toolbar on our website, click the accessibility icon which is floating on our website.
- Accessibility Communication Policy – Another tool to use is writing an accessibility communications policy which sets out your organisation’s approach, as well as an accessibility checklist. See our suggested checklist here. Alternatively, you can access it as a PDF document
- Finally presenting your organisation’s information in different and alternative formats will expand your accessibility. For example, do you offer an easy read version of key documents? Could your data be presented as an image or video? – these are just a few examples you to consider.
We are all on this journey together and learning all the time.
How do you encourage accessibility in your communications? Please comment below and join the conversation.