Inclusive SA

Alternatives to visual communication

Audio description opens new markets and audiences for your work — from people with vision impairment to people relaxing at the end of a busy day. Audio description can also be useful for people living with Autism.

Why it's important

  • Lyla-Mae is using the audio option to listen to a film to relax at the end of the day.
  • Jo listens to audio options because moving images are distracting.

Audio description is an additional commentary that describes on-screen or on-stage action, body language and facial expressions.

For example, a character looking shocked at something another character is doing.

Audio description is available in:

  • television
  • video and DVD
  • cinemas
  • museums and galleries
  • theatres
  • sports venues.

Steps to take

  1. Take a look at the audio description decision tree (Vision Australia).
  2. Read the guidelines for audio description (American Council of the Blind).
  3. Arrange information in a logical order.
  4. Avoid background noise and music.
  5. Use voices that are appropriate to the subject matter and audience.
  6. Give people time to understand calls to action.

Supporting resource

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Braille

Braille is a reading and writing system for people who are blind or have low vision. Braille can also be an important means of communication for people who are deaf and blind.

Why it's important

  • Madilyn was born blind. With braille resources, Madilyn is able to learn and take part at school.
  • Adrian lives with low vision and often uses a smartphone to assist in reading text. Adrian is also fluent in braille. When Adrian does not have access to a smartphone Adrian requests copies of text in braille to enable reading.

Steps to take

Before starting:

  1. Make sure you do research with the people who will use your information.
  2. Find out how those people will access your resources – whether it be in print, online or with support from others. Be aware that some people rely more on audio material and screen reading technology.
  3. Consider making your resources available in braille on request. Putting braille on your business cards is also a great way to promote inclusive practices.

We can help with commissioning braille resources from an expert organisation. Email us at onlineaccessibility@sa.gov.au.

Supporting resources

The importance of braille: Madilyn's story

Learn how Madilyn became fluent in braille and the important role it plays (YouTube, 2.30 mins)

Telephone

The phone is an important channel for making information accessible to your audience.

Why it's important

  • Information provided only in a digital format will exclude sections of your audience. By not providing a telephone number this prevents some people from using your service or accessing your information.
  • Many people do not have access to the internet or may have difficulties using it. This includes people with disability, older people and people living in remote locations.

Steps to take

  1. Provide a helpline or hotline to support your communications campaign. Telephone operators should have training in communicating with a wide range of people.
  2. Keep background noise to a minimum.
  3. Make sure you speak clearly and at a pace which suits the individual.
  4. Use a mix of communications channels in your communications planning. Telephone communications are not accessible for everyone.

National Relay Service

A call through the National Relay Service (NRS) lets you communicate with a person who is using a telephone. Even if you can't hear them or they don't use their voice.

  • The NRS has specially trained staff called Relay Officers who help with every call.
  • Depending on the type of call, a Relay Officer will change voice to text or text to voice, and Auslan to English or English to Auslan.
  • Relay officers stay on the line throughout each call to help it go smoothly. But they don't change or get in the way of what is being said.
  • Except for calls made through Video Relay, the NRS is available 24 hours a day, every day.
  • People can choose from one or more relay call types. This is depending on their hearing and speech, and equipment.

This site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2021 DHS .

Provided by:
Department of Human Services
URL:
https://inclusive.sa.gov.au/resources/state-authority-resources/accessible-communication-toolkit/alternatives-to-visual-communication
Last Updated:
12 Aug 2020
Printed on:
28 Nov 2021
The Inclusive SA website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016