2 Guidelines

2.1 Consultation with people with disabilities

NOTE:  In order to encourage industry best practice on accessibility inclusiveness, it is practical to consult with people with disabilities in the inaugural stages of the sourcing, development or introduction of any such goods or services.

2.1.1    Consultation with people with disabilities by Communications Alliance

As necessary, Communications Alliance will seek advice from organisations representing person/s with disabilities.

2.1.2    Consultation with people with disabilities by industry

Where products, services or information are likely to impact on people with disabilities, industry participants should consult with appropriate people with disabilities in the initial stages of its development.

2.2 Provision of Information

NOTE: Equity in access to communications products and services is linked to equity in access to information about such products and services.

For people with disabilities the term ‘accessible information’ has two levels of meaning. The first refers to the manner in which the information is presented, and use of the term accessible formats is common. The second refers to the ease of comprehension of the information presented.

Information may be provided indirectly by way of brochure or website, or directly by phone or in face-to-face presentation.

2.2.1    Indirect Provision of Information

Communications Alliance and industry members should ensure that:

(a)    Standards, Codes and Guidelines that impact on consumers are written in plain English or have available an explanation of the Standard, Code or Guideline in plain English.

(b)    any documentation is made available in alternative formats upon request. This includes, but is not limited to large print, Braille or electronic format. Electronic documentation should be created in such a way that it is accessible to computer screen reader software used by people who are blind or have vision impairment.

(c)    all printed consumer information is designed with appropriate font size, style and colour, appropriate colour contrast between background and text, and with clear, defined graphics to maximise their readability for people with vision impairment.

(d)    all industry websites, including the Communications Alliance website, meets international web accessibility guidelines at least to the standard required by the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO).

2.2.2    Direct Provision of Information

NOTE: Equity in access to direct modes of giving information means that a range of different ways of interacting with people with disabilities should be available, and the appropriate one used on request.

(a)    Customer enquiry or assistance lines should include sufficient text communication facilities (such as TTY lines) for people who are deaf, speech or hearing impaired. Facilities provided should enable communication in real time. Customer enquiry or assistance service operators should receive regular training in the efficient use of the relevant communication devices.

(b)    Customer service staff should receive regular training in the use of a range of communication modes, including but not limited to:

(i)    use of a  speech synthesizer and a communications board;
(ii)   use  of a speech interpreter and a sign language interpreter; and
(iii)   communications using the National Relay Service.

(c)    Customer enquiry or assistance service counter staff should provide facilities which enable communication. Examples include, but are not limited to:

(i)    on request, sign language interpreters for Deaf people; and
(ii)    hearing augmentation (such as a hearing loop) for people who are hearing impaired.

(d)    Service providers should ensure that customers can be easily assisted by an advocate, if required, when communicating with a supplier. An advocate can be an attendant care worker, family member, friend or other person nominated by a customer with a disability, non-English speaking background or other special need to assist the customer.

(e)    When Communications Alliance Standards, Codes and Guidelines mention access to the Emergency ‘000’ number, the TTY Emergency number ‘106’ should also be mentioned.

2.3 Universal Design

The principles of Universal Design should be taken into account, where relevant, in the development of Standards, Codes and Guidelines, and in the development of all products and equipment See the Principles of Universal Design at the NC State University website.