Membership and Fundraising Board Member for UKAAF, Tim Nelms explains how organisations like yours can play a part in supporting accessible document standards and meet the needs of customers and clients with print impairments
The RNIB estimates that 250 people start to lose their sight in the UK every day, while almost two million people have a sight problem which has a serious impact on their daily lives. That’s about one person in thirty in this country – two million buyers, customers and readers of your website, social media outreach, advertising and other content.
The good news is that many organisations and businesses are aware of this, and make efforts to ensure their content is completely accessible. The bad news: tech is constantly improving, and on multiple platforms – and in many cases, you are behind the curve on what the latest smartphone or app is delivering.
I work with a set of committed organisations in a special industry association, UKAAF, The UK Association for Accessible Formats, which is trying to help companies find the right standards and follow the best practice when it comes to accessible content. And we’re about to try and make it much, much easier for both individuals but also companies connect with us and get value from what we do.
In January, a special new membership structure is coming into operation that rationalises our existing structure. In practical terms, individuals will be able to join UKAAF from January for zero cost, which lowers the bar to membership particularly for our print impaired members – so if you want to give your time and energy to our activities because you have a passion for what we’re trying to do, amazing – there’s no charge!
For organisations and businesses, we have a new fee structure that will allow us to grow our donations and as a consequence support a greater range of standards activities. This structure includes affiliates, who can now join at the low cost of £100, sponsors who can join and use the UKAAF logo, that’s £500, and for those who want make a significant financial contribution to our operation, those fees range from £2,000 to £5,000.
Get your voice heard even louder
The fact is that all our members have access to accessible document standards, email updates and digital versions of our special in-house publication on all things accessible, Format Matters. After all, ensuring our standards work is as widely adopted and understood as possible is all part of our mission.
However, if you are a company joining as an affiliate, sponsor or sustaining member you can now leverage the UKAAF’s unique expertise, which could be really helpful helping you address the unique needs of your print impaired customers.
I hope you can join us in our mission to make every document an accessible document.
The author, Tim Nelms is VP Channels and Alliances/International Sales at Cheltenham-based Crawford Technologies, an award-winning, global provider of software solutions and services that help enterprises optimise and improve the secure and accessible delivery, storage and presentment of their customer communications
He is also a Trustee and Board Member of UKAAF, The UK Association for Accessible Formats, an industry association setting standards and promoting best practice for quality accessible information based on user needs and enabling businesses and organisations to deliver a quality service to meet the needs of people with print impairments.