The History of Braille
Today is World Braille Day, a holiday created by the United Nations. (U.N.) in 2018 to celebrate the birthday of Louis Braille, and to communicate “the full realization of the human rights” for people who are blind or partially sighted.
Louis Braille created the Braille system in the 19th Century to provide people who are blind or partially sighted with access to the same materials as those printed in visual font. It is a system of touch reading and writing where raised dots represent letters and numbers. The U.N. names Braille as a crucial tool for equality that aids in the “education, freedom of expression and opinion, as well as social inclusion” of people who are blind or partially sighted.
How to be Accessible in a Digital World
As we celebrate World Braille Day, it is important to stop and think about how the creation of Braille can inspire more accessibility efforts as technology advances. Have you stopped to consider whether your tech platforms are accessible for those who are blind or partially sighted?
Diversity and inclusion programs have become a major focus for companies over the last few years, and almost simultaneously the world has become increasingly digital. In response, SHL has partnered with Purple and the Valuable 500 to increase accessibility — not only with our own technology but also to help our customers as well.
5 Ways To Make Your Platform Accessible For Visual Impairment
Over the last few years, we have included a range of assistive features for participants with varying degrees of visual impairment. Here is a list of the 5 most common available features:
- Color contrast adjustment option: offering a selection of combinations covering a range of different needs, not just visual impairment.
- Zooming in on the materials: We have ensured the site functions with browser zoom up to 200% in most places.
- Compatibility with major screen readers: Our platforms allow for screen readers like NVDA, Jaws, and Voice Over
- Timer adjustment is possible for timed assessments: SHL’s data analysis and people insight are offered in part through our assessments; we have included timer adjustments that can be required to mitigate the extra time it takes to engage with the site when visually impaired.
- Additional support from our consultancy teams: Our experts are available to help guide with alternate solutions to our technology and process. Some examples of this include — partnering a team member with the participant to read the screen, and then input their answers for them, or using our pen and paper assessment as an alternative to the digital version.
We have worked with key customers to improve our general accessibility standards in 2020, and Purple is working closely with us to make sure that all our participant facing experiences and products are accessible. We expect to make several further enhancements, and expansions of coverage for the above capabilities, throughout 2021.
There are many ways to create an inclusive and accessible environment for people who are blind or partially sighted in this digital era. As we take a moment to stop and celebrate World Braille Day, we encourage you to find ways in which you can provide a more accessible tech platform for visual impairment.