Whoever you are, if you have to give regular presentations and/or inductions, taking disabled readers into account from the start will make your information much more accessible and reduce the time taken in explaining further once the session is over.
The following is information that you may find useful in relation to induction/presentations. If anyone requires alternative formats such as Braille, please contact ARACU.
Although library users are not obliged to declare any disability before the session, you are entitled to ask colleges, tutors and those coming to the session in any literature you send out to inform you if anyone has any specific needs. Making the session as accessible as possible will eliminate the need to make alternative arrangements, but it is always wise to ask in case someone has very specific needs.
Making the room accessible
Think about where the session will be situated. A ground floor training room with ramp access if the session is static is best. If this is not possible, consider whether there is lift access and if there are steps to the room or building and an alternative ramped entrance (if it is not signed properly you should consider temporary pictorial and large print signs). It is useful if you give this information out before the session, including where the nearest disabled or on-street parking is.
Most visually impaired students will already have had orientation of the University including libraries, usually organised by the colleges and Disability Offices, but making sure any literature states clearly where the session will be held will increase its accessibility. If the building has a swipe card or intercom system it is helpful to state this too and be prepared to help with access.
As with visually impaired readers, it is useful to let readers know if there is an intercom system for access to the building. Try to make sure that the room has a hearing loop installed but if not and the session is quite small you may borrow a portable loop from ARACU. The loop has a range of 1 metre and will need to be placed on a table in front of the D/deaf person.
Navigation and Maps
It is useful to give a map in any literature you hand out before inductions and training sessions, or if information is being sent electronically as an email attachment or weblink. A map of the of the library's layout will benefit students with Specific Learning Difficulties, such as Dyslexia.
Assistive animals, such as guide dogs or hearing dogs should always be admitted to the room the session is taking place in. They are working dogs and should not be touched.
Inform readers at the start of the session where the nearest toilets, including disabled toilets, are. Inform them also where the nearest fire exits and where applicable, refuge points and emergency evacuation chairs are in case of emergency. There will be someone in the building who is trained to use the evacuation chair and who will be on hand in the event of an emergency.
Presentations and accessibility
In the main keep the information in your presentation as simple as possible in a clear font and size with good contrast, such as Arial 14 point, so that it will be accessible to the majority in the session. Some other points to take into consideration:
- Do not overload with pictures. If they are necessary, give text and verbal explanations where possible.
- Don't skip large parts of texts from the slides or expect people just to read them as this will exclude those with visual difficulties, including Dyslexic students
- Provide the presentation in handouts and make it available online afterwards. If you require a Braille version, please contact ARACU and read the information on creating Powerpoint presentations in Braille.
- Write leaflets in a Sans Serif font in a clear size. There is more information in the writing accessible documents section.
- Provide leaflets in a variety of paper colours with good contrast to the text to benefit Dyslexic students, e.g. white, yellow and pink paper with dark type.
- When giving presentations if you sit or stand in good light (not blinding!) and face the audience, speak as clearly as possible without exaggerating your lip movements this will help lip readers.
- Be prepared to wear a hearing loop attachment if required.