Image of the It's Your Story Competition Logo. The background is white and features blue silhouettes of a girl, a bird, a butterfly and stars walking on an undulated surface. Below them the logo reads It's your story competition. Below them are logos for Through Scarlett's Eyes and Access2books.

It’s Your Story Competition

About Wiritng, bookmaking, Braille, Children's Books, Competitions, Education and Training, Giant print and Braille, Picture Books, Publishing

A few weeks ago we wrote telling you about the It’s Your Story Competition on our Facebook Page. Now, all the details have been finalised. Check them out on the link above.

It is time for you budding creative writers who are readers and contributors to Through Scarlett’s Eyes website to whip out your pens and tap away on your keyboards and let your imaginations run wild. Do what you do best – tell stories.

Write an accessible children’s picture storybook.

Parents and guardians you are welcome to help your child or children to write their story. As long as the story is:

  1. funny
  2. up to about 400 words
  3. includes your child in the story
  4. supply a front cover design: it should illustrate the main characters and the story line.

That’s simple, right? Then get writing!

There are three main categories. These are:

  1. 0 – 6 years
  2. 7- 12 years and
  3. 12 – 17 years.

Each category has prizes donated by either VICTA or John Lewis [Milton Keynes] and Access2books. You can  check out the specifics on the It’s Your Story Competition page.

An overall winner will be selected from the three pools and they will receive a copy of their story book published by Access2books.

The book will be in dual format; i.e., in giant print, and Braille with accessible illustrations.

A copy of the book will be sent over to the British Library in London as per custom. Everyone will be able to access their publication.

Four judges will be doing the judging. They are:

  1. Sue Hendra: an award winning children’s author and illustrator of books like Norman the Slug With The Silly Shell, Supertato, and many others.

    Image of Sue Hendra at the Imagine Children's Festival. She is pictured holding up a copy of Norman the Silly Shell With the Silly Shell in giant print and Braille.

    Sue Hendra, author and illustrator of books like Supertato, pictured at the Imagine Children’s Festival earlier this year. She is holding up a copy of one of her books Norman the Slug With the Silly Shell which she saw for the first time in Giant Print and Braille.

  2. Charlotte Mellor: an employee of VICTA and a representative of Through Scarlett’s Eyes.
  3. Tim O’Sullivan: the BAFTA Award winning Creative Director at Karrot animation will be on the panel. He is Series Director and Script Editor of CBeebies Sarah and Duck.
  4. Eileen Finch: she is a cofounder of Access2books and also a Director. She has published over 60 plus book titles in accessible format. 
    Picture of Eileen Finch, Sue Hendra and Mike O'Sullivan chatting at the Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre with the London skyline behind them.

    Sue Hendra chatting to Eileen Finch and Mike O’Sullivan [founders of Access2books] at thye Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre in London.

 The competition is now open to readers and contributors to Through Scarlett’s Eyes website. It will be closing on the 8th of January 2016.
The winners will be announced on the 31st of January 2016.
Check out the It’s Your Story Competition link for more details and how you can send in your entries. Good luck writers!
Image of a book cover showing a white cat sitting in a box. Only the head and the tail are visible. The box has the text my cat likes to hide in boxes written on its side. Underneath the the box is green rectangle which reads Eve Sutton and Lynley Dodd. There is another blue rectangle below it with the words Giant Print and Braille written in white.

My Cat Likes To Hide in Boxes

Children's Books, Giant print and Braille, Picture Books, Publishing

Access2books are publishing the first giant print and Braille version of the classic children’s book My Cat Likes To Hide in Boxes written by Eve Sutton and illustrated by Lynley Dodd.

The book was published by Puffin Books – a part of the Penguin Group.

The accessible version of the book, published by Access2books in giant print [75 point] and Braille plus specially adapted pictures, is complete.

It will be ready to be ordered within the next week or two. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts for more information.

Alternatively, you can check our homepage and the online catalog.

My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes is going to be one of the first releases for the autumn period.

All the pictures have been modified to make them more accessible to visually impaired people.

It is now waiting to be quality checked and a Braille check done to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors.

The book was first published in 1974. It is a popular book in New Zealand and it has also found a way into the hearts of people in Canada and the UK.

The author and illustrator are cousins who are both from New Zealand. However, Sutton was originally born in England and moved to New Zealand as an adult.

This book was their one and only collaboration. They subsequently went on to carve solo careers as successful writers.

The image below is an example of the inner pages of the accessible version of My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes.

The texh which is 75 point print is covered by plenty of white space to make it accessible and easy to see. The pictures have a page dedicated to them.

The Braille of the text and picture descriptions appear in the footer of both pages. Therefore, the book can be enjoyed by many people.

Image of the inner pages of My Cat Likes to hide in Boxes. The text in the centre of the left hand page reads,

According to Dodd [New Zealand’s best known author and author of the Hairy Maclary series], My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes is based on a true story.

It is the story of the Dodd’s family cat that used to love hiding in boxes, cupboards, supermarket bags and the likes.

The book is catchy. It uses poetic devices. It uses rhyming couplets and run on lines to describe cats from different countries. For example:

The cat from France

likes to sing and dance.

The rhyming couplets build up as the narrative develops and describes cats from another country. With each subsequent description, the recurring refrain, “But MY cat likes to hide in boxes” is repeated at the end of each.

For example:

The cat from France

likes to sing and dance.

The cat from Spain

Flew in an aeroplane.

But MY cat likes to hide in boxes

The sentences are very simple which makes them easy to recite and remember. The musicality of the rhyming couplets aid in making the story memorable.

It is in essence a fun rhyming story. This makes it a great read for children who are learning to read.

Who doesn’t like a story about cats doing exotic and strange things? This is a story that is great for sharing between children and elder family members.

It is no surprise it first won a prize in 1975. Its longevity illustrates its staying power and how it continues to be be influential through different generations.

Children will love to take part in this fun rhyming story which can be set to music because of its musicality.

Place your order for Access2books’ accessible version of My Cat Likes To Hide In Boxes and put a smile on someone’s face.

Image of the delegates standing up in the hall and waving towards the camera.

Positive Approaches, Practical Outcomes Conference

About Visual Impairment

Thanks Gwyn McCormack of Positive Eye and Susan Cook for inviting me to the wonderful Positive Approaches – Practical Outcomes Conference that I attended two weeks ago in Liverpool.

I knew there would be people working with blind children, but didn’t know much more. It was another opportunity for Access2books, and a kind invitation from Gwyn, to promote our books.

Image of Gwyn standing in front of the projector screen, dressed in a black cardigan and green dress, addressing delegates at the conference in Liverpool.

Gwyn addressing delegates at the Positive Approaches – Practical Outcomes Conference in Liverpool.

What a joyful and motivated conference this was. It started with Sue managing order and Gwyn managing ‘positive bringing together’ in her usual naturally inviting way.

Martin and Judith were back up – making sure everything was working for everyone – and they did.

Well if you want to be stimulated and learn a lot of practice from those that DO then I recommend the Positive Approaches, Practical Outcomes Conference.

RNIB‘s [Royal National Institute of Blind People] Manager, Julie Jennings, talked us through latest legislation ‘Adopting a Key Working Approach through the Children and Families Act’.

Image of Julie Jennings, dressed in a black sleeveless top and floral skirt, standing to the left of the projector screen, and addressing delegates at the conference.

Julie Jennings delivering her keynote speech ‘Adopting a Key Working Approach through the Children and Families Act’.

For me, the emphasis on handling change in work practice, and an increased focus on emotional well-being and challenges and clarity of new practice caught my attention.

She gave me and our books some time and after a glance at A Squash and Squeeze by Julia Donaldson, she was generous enough to agree to help me understand new pathways for these books after the conference.  Result!

Front cover of the accessible version of A Squash and a Squeeze which was written and illustrated by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler and produced by Access2books in Giant Print and Braille. In the picture, the little old lady is wearing a blue dress which is covered by a white apron. She is surrounded by her hen, goat, pig and black and white cow.

I also met Charlotte Mellor from Through Scarlet’s Eyes: it is a website serving as a family support network for visually disabled children.

Charlotte is calm, modest and a quiet but high achiever. She is fortunate enough to make a balance of family and work life.

She created Through Scarlet’s Eyes website when Scarlet was born, a baby with no sight so far.

Charlotte has a quiet but noticeable attraction and has made a great place for parents to share and talk and has achieved fame in this world of visually impaired people’s services and support.

We will work together, maybe a competition for parents with book prizes, or her members may want to join in our project to distribute more books to visually impaired children and parents, and link them up to places they can get more titles.

To my great benefit I’ve got Charlotte in my network – lucky me.

Karen Newell who is involved in popular and powerful Facebook campaigns like #toylikeme and Playful Explorations for Children with Visual Impairments was dynamite.

Image of Karen Newell dressed in a sleeveless blue floral dress  and addressing delegates at the conference. On the white projector screen is projected a slide which reads  - Karen Newell a.k.a. Fred's Mum.

Karen Newell also known as Fred’s Mum presenting her keynote speech and acquainting the audience with the aims, objectives and the nucleus of her work.

She is a woman who demands we are included in the mainstream. Her mission started after she found out her baby was blind.

She is fearless and abounds energy. Her platforms are for parents with disabled children and has specialised in creating fun and joy through things like production of toys that show disabled people ‘in the world’.

She had a dolly girl (a white stick user) on display and showed us a book her son, who is definitely into tactile access, created with friends and  published Off to the Park – illustrated by Stephen Cheetham, and published by Child’s Play.

A hall full of delegates, standing up and holding up placards written #Toylikeme

Karen goes for the big stuff corporate toy makers, stars to sponsor her. She is a woman who is easily inspiring.

I am looking forward to networking with Karen. I hope some of her phenomenal energy seeps through to me.

Dr Gail Bailey spoke about ‘Parental Partnership and an Introduction to emotional support for families’.

Gail is an Educational Psychologist for disabled children and their services.

I was captivated listening to her experience and advice to VI teachers and key workers about the psychological and consequent development themes to address emotional and psychological well-being for the children and their families.

I learnt more about parenting than I ever knew – shame I could have done with that.

The information was so useful to all parents and I recommend hearing what Gail has to say, if the chance is there.

And, to top it all she is a woman who uses our books to read to her grandson – high five!

Image of Eileen chatting with Teresa Dominic and a colleague about her books.

I attended Gwyn’s workshop, ’Developing Visual Skills’. She also had loads of toys that all the children in my family and myself would love: sparkling, squeaking, doing the splits, rubbery, floating, moving….

Image of Eileen Finch from Access2books and Gwyn sharing the stage and addressing the delegates.

Eileen Finch from Access2books sharing the stage with Gwyn from Positive Eye.

I didn’t want to give them back.  Alongside a really clear, simple 5 step process and activities for the work of measuring sensory capacity. Thank you Gwyneth, I loved it.

I have extended my network, made new friends and colleagues, made new clients, gained insight into the VI children’s development world, and most importantly everyone there was definitely something of interest and benefit to everyone else.

It did make me think about my experience and raise questions for blind parents and guardians for me….

When I found out I had a progressive eye condition in the 1980’s, there was no support offered to work with my non-disabled children aged 6, 2 and a baby.

I acquired this condition mid having 3 children: I know the oldest got more from me than the youngest.

Image of Eileen Finch addressing delegates at the conference while they look on.

Eileen Finch from Access2books acquaints the delegates with her project Access2books which produces accessible books in giant print and Braille mainly for people with visual impairments and others.

Development and education involve simple activities, sharing reading, writing, drawing, etc.

I remember as my sight got worse reading with a magnifier was such a drag and not a lot of pleasure any more.

So things are hard to do when your sight deteriorates and when you’re inexperienced at being disabled you don’t know what to do: you learn about access and networks and that you can be yourself, not the stereotype.

I’ve not heard too much about supporting disabled parents of non-disabled children or disabled children – the work is that I know about so far is definitely focused on the disabled child.

Fascinatingly, I got loads of support to continue my job – RNIB Employment Services did me proud and consequently I have been working all my life since then.

Image of the delegates standing up in the hall and waving towards the camera.

So Gwyneth and Sue – what a great conference at St Vincent’s School for Blind and Partially Sighted Children, a most suitable venue and very welcoming people.

Many thanks and look forward to the next one.

Eillen Finch team leader of Access2books chatting to Gwyneth McCormack from the Positive Eye at the Visual Impairment Residential Study Weekend at the University of Birmingham

Gwyneth McCormack Speaks at the National Conference on Visually Impaired Children and Young People 2015

Visual Impairment

Gwyneth McCormack is an Educational Consultant for Positive Eye Ltd. She is based in the UK and is at the forefront of holding training programmes that empower organisations and practitioners across the UK and Europe about how to deal with the educational needs of children or young people with a visual impairment.

In this audio clip National Conference on Visually Impaired Children and Young People 2015 – Gwyneth McCormack, delivered to over 78 different organisations and 200 delegates in Scotland last month, Gwyn shares some of the valuable insights and nuggets she has gathered over the past two decades.

Gyneth McCormack from Positive Eye shares the stage with Eileen Finch from Access2books, on the left, in front of delegates at the  Practical Approaches - Positive Outcomes Conference in Liverpool.

Gwyneth McCormack, from Positive Eye, in the black top shares the stage with Eileen Finch at the Practical Approaches – Positive Outcomes Conference in Liverpool.

The subject of her talk focusses on confidence development, promoting self esteem, having a positive outlook, enabling young people to feel better about themselves and visual impairment.

I have had the opportunity to interact with a lot of you in the groups on Facebook and have heard some of your concerns.

This speech by Gwyn is just as relevant to you, as parents or guardians, as it is to practitioners and organisations tasked with the education of children or young people with a visual impairment.

An indulgent but brief examination of the content of her speech below illustrates the thrust of her work, as she illustrates:

“You will all no doubt have experienced first hand the negative impact that visual impairment can have on a child or a young person on becoming a successful learner, a confident individual, an effective contributor and a responsible citizen.

“They might have experienced negative attitudes, low expectations, prejudice and misconceptions from family, from friends, from school and the local community. And later from employees and wider society…

“An integral role, and a core role, and at the heart of all that we do, is our responsibility to help that child or young person, and the family to develop a positive approach to be sight impaired. 

“A secondary and equally important role is to support those around the child and family to also develop a positive approach. But to do this, we have to change perceptions and attitudes, to create a deeper awareness and understanding of the ultimate capabilities of a person with sight impairment.”

I believe that the core of the paragraphs above show why this speech is relevant to anyone who is in regular contact with a child or young person with a visual impairment if we are determined to address the issues identified in Gwyn’s speech.

Picture of Gwyneth McCormack from Positive Eye Ltd standing at the extreme right of the white board addresses the delegates at the  Practical Approaches - Positive Outcomes Conference in Liverpool.

Gwyneth McCormack from Positive Eye Ltd. in the green dress and black top on the right handside of the picture addresses delegates at the Practical Approaches – Positive Outcomes Conference in Liverpool.

Gwyn, as she likes to be known, provides pointers in this speech and others, plus her training conferences on how to develop confidence in children or young people who happen to have a visual impairment.

She has over 20 years experience in this field. We have attended several of her training conferences and they are great opportunities to learn more, meet like minded practitioners and network with other organisations and professionals in our field.

I personally recommend them from personal experience. They are worth it.

Her style of training is creative, hands on, interactive and practical. Her advice is straightforward and makes common sense.

Please listen to her speech and share it with your friends and followers on social media or via email.

Visit Positive Eye to find out more about their training courses and other resources they share on Facebook and Pinterest that you might find helpful.

Picture of the front cover of Lost and Found written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. The picture shows a boy and a penguin on a small boat. The boy is wearing a striped top and hat, and holding a staff in his right hand and a suitcase in his left.

Access2books first audio-visual book promo

Book Promo

Access2books has just completed its first ever audio-visual promo. It is exciting times for us here and an opportunity to do something we have never done before.

However, we have been looking at taking this direction for quite a while. So now, it is done.

In the future, look out for slicker productions. Although we are happy with this promo, we are aware that it is very visual and not accessible to people who happen to be blind or have a sight impairment because there is no narration.

That means our promo is not accessible to a huge proportion of our friends, followers and others who happen to be blind or visually impaired.

We are limited because we don’t have the facilities to record narration. Probably, when we have some software better than Microsoft Live Movie Maker, we can add narration to our videos.

However, for a first attempt on very basic editing software, we are pleased with the results. Our apologies to those who can’t access this promo because of a lack of narration.

Check out our first audio-visual attempt and enjoy it. Share it with your family, friends, followers and so on and let them know about our books. Thanks in advance for your support.

We look forward to your feedback, negative or positive. If you know better software which is relatively cheap or free which can help us make better promos, please let us know.

Have a lovely day.

Picture of the red Coca-Cola cans standing in a row. They all have Braille written on the side

Coca-Cola Braille Cans: Inclusive design or Cheap Advertising Gimmick


Everywhere I turned last week, that is in the virtual world, I was bombarded from all angles by articles or videos talking about or showcasing Coca-Cola’s usage of Braille on their cans and bottles. It was almost impossible to avoid the trending articles and beggared the question: is it inclusive design or a cheap advertising gimmick.

The Coca-Cola initiative generated talking points within the community of people who happen to be blind or visually impaired.

Picture of a man with grey hair standing in the foreground holding a red Coca-Cola can with Braille on its surface. He is running his fingers over the Braille characters. In the background is a blind woman standing in front of a red Coca-Cola dispensing machine with white Braille characters superimposed in its front face. There is a subtitle at the bottom of the picture which reads

A frame taken from the Coca-Cola ad with the gentleman in the foreground feeling the Braille characters on the can spelling out his name.

Coca-Cola video sparked conversation and dialogue

It initiated conversations and dialogue across social media. Blogs were written about it. This article is part and parcel of all that activity.

Without it, this article, other blog posts and discussions would probably not be happening with the same intensity.

That is not to say these conversations don’t happen regularly. That would be ingenious to insinuate that.

These conversations happen regularly. The Coca-Cola initiative, if I may call it that, made this particular topic trend on social media.

The Coca-Cola adverts popped up in numerous groups I frequent and filtered into my Facebook feed. The excitement from within the the communities I interact with was palpable. It was infectious.

Addressing access issues

I can appreciate their excitement. A fundamental need was addressed, in the short term. That is the question of access. We all face it at one point in time or in different guises.

Picture of a man in a gray suit standing in front of red Coca-Cola dispensing machine with white Braille charcters on its ront and side. He is holding a Coca-cola can in his left hand.

Another frame from the same advert. The man feels the Braille characters on the can of Coca-Cola.

It may not have been Coca-Cola’s primary goal to address the question of access. However, whether or not it was, they touched on it.

Did it really address the question of inclusivity and access? That is another, or “the”, question.

Share a Coke Campaign

Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign was launched in 2011. It was initiated across 80 countries worldwide.

However, this phase fizzled out but it was recently reignited when Coca-Cola realised it had missed out a section of the population. 

They personalised their cans using Braille, enabling people who happen to be blind to read their names on the cans.

Closeup picture of a woman reading Braille on Coca Cola can with her fingers. The subtitle on the screen reads Julia.

The screenshots above and below are from the video. The woman and boy run their fingers over the embossed Braille on the cans to read their names for the very first time.

Picture of a boy sitting by a piano. He is holding a can of Coca-Cola and running his fingers over the embossed Braille on the can to read his name. The subtitle on the screen reads Jose Alfredo.II

Coca-Cola collaborated with a Mexican ad agency, Anonimo, to create special editions of their cans for people who couldn’t see their names printed on the cans. Hence, the need for Braille.

They changed the names on the cans and shared the new versions with a not-for-profit, Fundacion ProCiegos: they assist adults who happen to be blind or visually impaired to find their way into the workforce.

Picture of a cinema complex. In the centre of the forecourt are four red Coca-Cola vending machines embossed with white Braille characters. A group of men and women are descending on them to purchase their cans of Coca-Cola with Braille embossed on their sides.

The Braille cans with Spanish names were presented at the Comité Internacional ProCiegos I.A.P. in Mexico City.

They used a vending machine with Braille characters to dispense personalised cans to the users of the centre, providing hundreds of students with the opportunity to read their name on a can of Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola Video and reactions

The reactions from the video, as you can see below, are touching and overwhelming.

More can be done, however, not only by Coca-Cola but by more companies to make their products more accessible to users who happen to be blind or visually impaired.

Considering the profits multinationals make annually, it wouldn’t cost them much to add Braille to their packaging to allow users who have problems reading small print to read labels by themselves so they know what they are buying, allowing them to make informed purchases.

Pharmaceuticals and Braille Packaging

It is not impossible. The pharmaceutical industry is miles ahead in this respect. By law, their packaging needs to have Braille on it as illustrated below on the pack of Paracetamol.

Picture of a blue and white box of Paracetamol with Braille and illsutration of two tablets on it's front face. It is branded Tesco in white in the left hand corner and Paracetamol in the middle of the package in a dark blue colour.

From the 30th of October 2010, all medicines now in the UK and EU display the name and the strength of the medicine embossed in Braille on the packaging or on a label affixed to the package. This is to comply with a European Directive passed in 2004.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People [RNIB] conducted a survey of about 165 adult Braille users around the UK with regards to the implementation of the European Directive passed in 2004 for Braille on pharmaceutical products. They reported that:

  1.  The Braille on packaging made a positive impact on users.
  2.  Over 95% of the participants used the Braille on the packaging.
  3.  Over 40% of Braille readers confirmed that the quality of the Braille on the product had improved than in two years.
  4. 4% believed it was worse.

The use of Braille on packaging helps people who can read it to locate products they need independently.

This addresses the question about access touched on above.

This initiative by Coca-Cola could extend beyond the realms of gimmickry and short term campaigns to create viral videos to improve their advertising or marketing campaigns or accrue social capital.

It could be a permanent fixture to their packaging: it will benefit users who happen to be blind or visually impaired.

It could be rolled out across the world empowering non-sighted users to locate their products independently.

Other companies providing Braille on their products 

It is possible. There are companies who are already providing Braille on their labels to cater for customers who can read Braille as illustrated in the pictures below.

Picture of two bottles of wine. One has a yellow label and seal and the other has a black label and seal. Next to them is a close up of the yellow label embossed with Black Braille characters.

There are already some products on the market that have Braille characters embossed on their labels to make them more accessible to consumers who happen to be print disabled. It empowers them to make informed decisions about the products they are purchasing without the need for a sighted person to read out what the contents of the products are.

Picture of a Wonderee chocolate in a dark brown like chocolate packaging with Braille. The top of the bag is folded and held together by a wooden clothes peg that has Braille on it. Also in the picture is finger running over the Braille characters on the packaging. Above the Braille characters is the word CHOCOLATE written in upper case.

As illustrated above, Braille in the packaging can extend beyond gimmickry and address the aesthetics of the packaging as well which also improves their visual appeal to sighted users as well. This illustrates innovative packaging and a company that cares for its consumers.

It’s great to include people and demonstrate it as Coca-Cola have. It is good to find a way to include access.

Coca-Cola and other companies are able to produce automatic Braille which illustrates that there are facilities to make it possible to produce products with Braille.

Irony about Coca-Cola’s inaccessible video

Considering Coca-Cola’s best intentions, their video is not accessible. Why? They did not make the visuals auditory yet the video is about a community without vision.

If you haven’t got any vision, then you need auditory access. The community of blind people in that Coca-Cola video cannot access it.

It seems like they and other people who are blind or visually impaired were not the intended audience for this video.

It is a disappointment if you consider the quality of what they are doing because the video is a good idea.

However, it looks like they were catering for the visual world; they did not include the sight impaired community, yet this video was about the non-visual community.

The video above is difficult to access for people with visual impairments but are not blind.

However, the intention by Coca-Cola is great; the video is not very accessible although it could be. It is inaccessible because they did not use people that can’t see to monitor what they were doing.  

Accessible books

Accessibility in books is central to the most popular children’s books we publish. It is a key issue in the design of our books. It is something we try to address in everything we do, including working with non-sighted users.

This is why our books are made in a dual format as illustrated in the interior pages of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? below. 

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See Inside Pages

They include giant print [75] point which makes it accessible to a wide variety of groups and not only people who have visual impairments.

They have Braille to cater for readers who happen to be blind and are Braille readers or learning it. Other blind people or visually impaired readers use electronic devices to access books.

Accommodating macular conditions and sight impairments

The pictures in our books are adapted from the originals and made more accessible for people with macular conditions or other sight impairments which renders the normal pictures inaccessible.

Elvira using the magic wand in her hands to conjure up the magic that transforms an image and enhances it to make it more visible to someone who happens to be visually impaired and would have problems accessing the image in a normal book.

Elvira using the magic wand in her hands to conjure up the magic that transforms an image and enhances it to make it more visible to someone who happens to be visually impaired and would have problems accessing the image in a normal book.

People with dyslexia can access the books produced by Access2books. This includes disabled too.

About Access2book’s book design

People with general eye conditions can read large print or use Braille. The book design helps people who want to read but who have different sight impairments.

The books are also popular with children who find it difficult to read normal print. The giant characters and plenty of white space make the books easier to read.

Picture of a young girl at the Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre is reading an accessible version of Norman the Slug With the Silly Shell which is published by Access2books. Her grandmother is looking over her shoulder and listening to her picking her way through the large characters surrounded by plenty of white space.

A young girl at the Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre reads an accessible copy of Norman the Slug With the Silly Shell published by Access2books. Her grandmother is leaning over her shoulder and listening to her picking through the giant print on the page set out from the white space.

The book design makes it usable by as many people as possible. It is unlikely anyone would read anything bigger than 75 point print on paper. It is too difficult.

People with general eye conditions will either be able to read large print or use Braille. The book design helps people who want to read who have got sight impairments of different kinds.

Our books are designed to be as accessible to as many people as possible within the whole community.

People who have problems with their neck and eyes can read 75 point comfortably without moving their neck and eyes.

People who are learning disabled are supported by white space, good clear print; it can be 18 or 20 point but they can read 75, and pictures that support the text in some way. 

Access2books’ accessible formats contain as much of the easy read criteria as we can to include disabled people and other groups. The criteria is clear white space, clear printing, contrasting and clarity.

Picture of an inside page of the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The pgae is in 75 point print with Braille characters just above the footer. The text on the page reads,

The interior page of The Very Hungry Caterpillar featuring the text in 75 point print with Braille below and just above the footer. The formatting illustrates the easy read criteria: that is clear white space, clear printing, contrasting and clarity.

People with dyslexia also benefit from clarity, white space and they can use glasses to put colour over the picture. Dyslexia comes in many forms. But if you like a cream background, you use glasses to add that colour or whatever colour works for your condition.

People who are deaf or blind will be able to read with either their sight or Braille.

People with mental health issues can be confused and stressed by their environment and that includes their literature.

Our books are plain; that enables them to read text without loads going on: it doesn’t affect their stress levels and anxiety.

Picture of an interior page of the book Things I Like. In the picture is a smiling monkey dressed in a blue dungaree and green top and yellow shoes. His hands are folded behind his back as if he is hiding something. He is set against a white background. Below his feet are Braille characters: these characters are picture descriptions.

The interior page of the book Things I Like illustrating the enhanced picture of the monkey with Braille descriptions just above the footer and below his feet. The de-cluttered image against a white background makes it more accessible because of the clear white space, the contrast and clarity which adhere to the easy read criteria.

People with mental health issues are enabled by our format to share and read books.

Loads of communities benefit from our design. And the reason the Braille is there is simply because it caters for people who can’t read normal text and need it to access books.

Making products accessible

There are plenty of things Coca-Cola can and could do to make their products accessible which doesn’t only include Braille.

Using giant print to highlight one or two keywords on labels or packaging is another way to address issues surrounding accessibility. Voice activated vending machines is another. There are so many untapped opportunities.

Benefits of addressing access issues

If Coca-Cola used Braille on their products, like other companies already do, it would give them a lot of publicity. It would make them look like a good diverse community organisation. 

Their video is one of the best things they have done for their company. They have a reputation for creating great ads that work well. They are also memorable.

The impact of their viral video was really positive; they could have made it better by making it more inclusive by including the non-visual community.

They could have been seen as market leaders when it comes to inclusion if they asked the non-visual community and other disabled people to find out what would help them to identify their products and implement those changes. 

Missed opportunity

It is a missed opportunity. This missed opportunity might not cost them business. They will probably make loads of money from the back of this Braille initiative.

Personally, the initiative is a bit too gimmicky. It is about them creating great marketing and advertising material and probably social capital. It is clever advertising and nothing more.

Creating viral videos is the next big thing in putting products out there without making it too obvious that is what you are doing. 
Other companies that include Braille in their packaging don’t go about creating publicity hype. They simply do the right thing by being inclusive. 
Therefore, the Coca-Cola initiative is just another cheap advertising gimmick and not inclusive design.