Monthly Archives: September 2008

Disability Scoop

I was interested to hear Alastair Thompson, proprietor of Scoop talking to Kim Hill on national radio at the weekend. He used the media releases of the Minister for Disability Issues as an example of material which is interesting to disabled people as a particular group but not to the mainstream media. It obviously stood out in his mind as one of the more under-covered media topics.

What he didn’t say is that disabled people are 20% of the population, but obviously not the important 20% in the eyes of the media. Those who want to communicate critically important information to the disability community know that media releases, no matter how well written or interesting, will sink like a stone in the mainstream media. If it doesn’t bleed it doesn’t lead. But at least the releases can be aired on scoop.

When you search for ‘disability’ there it all is. But what about the ‘spin?” The mainstream media has no spin on disability? Yeah right. At least on Scoop you know who is generating the information in the release so you can make your own informed judgement on their ‘spin’.

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Filed under Disability Issues, Media

Let people know you are customer-focused

So you have made some of your critical public information available accessibly on your web site and in alternative formats. What next? How can you let people know that it is there? The disability community is notoriously hard to reach but it is possible and the good news is that it is not particularly expensive.

All you need to do to begin with is to state on all your published material containing the same information that this information is available in x y and z formats, and how to get it. It should be included on web sites and printed material. The information can be quite prominently placed. (Make sure you can deliver though.)

All material says the information is available in Braille, large print and audio formats

Here is an example from the UK.

Click on the thumbnail to enlarge.

It is true that blind people won’t read print. But friends and family will, and word gets out. One of the advantages of living in a small country is that everyone knows everyone else. Good practice like this walks the talk of accessibility, and is a very tangible way to support the everyday rights of disabled people to access everyday information. It also shows that the organisation has really thought about all its customers, and you can’t go wrong with customer focus.

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Filed under Information Accessibility

Your business cards could be losing you business

Business cards are important links when you are in business of any kind. Yet many business cards are almost useless. Why? Because they ignore some readability basics. This came to my attention recently when trying to read someone’s email address off a business card. Lovely big logo and fancy printed name but the email address was so tiny it gave me a headache trying to read it.

The errors are simple and obvious yet they are very common.

  1. Business cards are often very crowded, with too much visual and print information crammed into a limited space with the important details lost in the muddle
  2. They are often designed to within an inch of their lives, very pretty but unreadable because of the font style or poor colour contrast.
  3. The third and often the worst fault is that while the logo and company name loom large, the essential information like phone number and email and web addresses are so tiny that only the youngest and strongest eyes can read them.

If people can’t read your card they can’t contact you and you will lose their business. We are an ageing population. According to NZ Business in four year’s time over half the New Zealand workforce will be over the age of 42. And we know that once you are past 40 you are more likely to need specs for reading. And that isn’t counting the retired people.

Don’t lose out because people can’t read your card.

Now where did I put my specs?

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Filed under Information Accessibility