This Guide covers practical tools, tips, and skills for using interpreters, assistive technology, creating accessible documents, and more. See the Communications and Marketing Guide for the business communications of the organization.
Table of Contents
- ADA Requirements: Effective Communication, 13 minutes from the U.S. Department of Justice on how the law supports effective communication under the ADA.
- Five Steps to Plain Language, 3 minutes from the Center for Plain Language.
- What is a Communication Board and How does it Help? 6 minutes from Healthline. Assistive technology and communication boards are for more than Autism. People of all ages and abilities use communication devices for many reasons.
- How do Deaf-Blind People Communicate? 5 minutes from The American Association for Deaf-Blind.
- Intrepid Education: Verbal Description and Tactile Guide, 4 minutes from the Intrepid Air & Space Museum’s Accessibility Resources. A woman shows how a Blind or low vision visitor can use a book the museum provides that has brail and tactile raised images that will respond to a digital pen to play audio descriptions for the tour.
- Plain Language for Everyone, Even Experts, 3 minutes from the NNGroup.
Toolkits and Training
- Tips and Strategies to Promote Accessible Communication from the North Carolina Office on Disability Health
- Large Print Guidelines from the American Council for the Blind
- Font Face Guide from Penn State University has useful tips and gives examples of accessible font choices.
- Braille Publication Guide from the National Park Service Harpers Ferry Center.
- Autism Communication Strategies from The Spectrum.
- State/Territory Assistive Technology Programs from the AT3 Center.
- Hemmingway App is a plain language style editing tool that has a free Web edition and a low cost desktop version.
- Microsoft Word: Get your document’s readability and level statistics
- About YouDescribe: a free, crowd source audio description project with instructions for viewers and volunteer audio describers.
- Audio Description: An Introduction to Core Concepts, 93 minutes from the National Park Service.
American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation
- How can I find an ASL interpreter?
- An ASL Interpreter is a hearing individual who has passed written and performance exams to become a professional interpreter for the Deaf community. Most ASL Interpreters do not come from Deaf families or use ASL as their first or native language, however there are exceptions.
- Certified Deaf Interpreter (CDI) are certified individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing, a part of the Deaf community with a strong sense of Deaf culture, and are native users of ASL.
- The Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf offers a national listing of ASL interpreters. Your state’s Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services can also offer recommendations for ASL Interpreters or CDIs.
- Not all Deaf people or those who are hard of hearing use ASL. It is a best practice to provide live captions alongside ASL interpretation when it is offered.
Captioning and CART
- What are Captioning and CART?
- Captioning/CART: 9 minutes. Information about cart, captioning, relevant laws, and also includes a link to an 8 minute YouTube video about captioning and CART.
- Do check your State’s Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services to find recommendations for CART providers.
- Ask if your captioning service provides a transcript after your event. Transcripts are useful to share with a recording of an event or program, or to help compile notes from a meeting!
- How do I add captions to videos?
- Plan in advance. You can also add captions to existing videos.
- Add your own closed captions to YouTube videos.
- SubtitleEdit is free, open-source software that allows for post-production captioning of video files.
- How much does live captioning cost?
- Look for free artificial intelligence (AI) software to create captions, such as Zoom or YouTube’s auto-caption features. Note that these can be inaccurate but are better than providing no captions at all.
- CART provided by a trained captioner can be provided either in-person or virtually and typically costs about $100 per hour.
- CART is preferred over AI by the Deaf and hard of hearing community because it is generally more accurate than auto-generated captions.
- What video conferencing platforms allow for captions?
- The Video Conferencing Platforms Feature Matrix from the National Association for the Deaf compares video conferencing platforms for accessibility for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
- CART captions can also be provided in a separate browser window if your video conference platform doesn’t support caption integration.
- How do I find an audio describer?
- Commercial and Non-Profit Services Involved with Audio Description from the American Council for the Blind’s Audio Description Project (ADP) describes types of audio description services and has a searchable directory of providers.
- How can I use verbal description in tours, events, or programs?
- Audio Description at Museums, Parks, Exhibits, and More! from ADP
- Providing Spoken Descriptions of Visual Content from the University of Colorado Boulder.
- PDF Verbal Description and Visual Language, created by Art Beyond Sight and posted by Cultural Accessibility Collaborative (CAC).
- How can I write my own alt-text or descriptions of digital images?
- Cooper Hewitt Guidelines for Image Description from the Smithsonian offer help and museum-specific examples for creating image descriptions and alt-text to be used in websites, social media, or when displaying objects digitally.
- Are there any standards or guidelines for creating tactile graphics and models?
- Tactile graphics or models can range from raised-line drawings (like embossing or thick paint causing outlines to be distinguished from the paper) to 3D scale reproductions.
- Guidelines and Standards for Tactile Graphics from the Braille Authority of North America can help organizations looking to get started in translating two-dimensional images into tactile graphics.
- How do I go about creating a tactile graphic or model?
- PDF Tactile Graphics Decision Tree from educator Lucia Hasty. A flowchart of the tactile graphic design process and creation.
- How 3D Printers Work from the Department of Energy.
- Specialized tools like 3D printers can create tactile models–“maker spaces” in science centers, libraries, or schools/universities may have a 3D printer available for public use with some training (Carnegie Science Center’s Fab Lab Open Workshop (FLOW) is a great example of this). You can also get creative with everyday materials like puffy paint, or scale reproductions like model trains and parts for low-cost options or prototyping.
- From Tactile Models to Tactile Graphics from the Perkins School for the Blind eLEARNING. Examples of tactile models and graphics created using everyday, inexpensive materials.
- Accessible Meetings, Events and Conferences Guide – ADA Hospitality and Disability, an ADA National Network Initiative
- PDF Accessibility for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Audiences at Cultural Institutions
- Mid-Atlantic Arts Alliance: Accessibility
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