Work to commence on unifying Braille codes for smart devices

3 May 2012

The Irish National Braille and Alternative Format Association (INBAF) launches today and will be the go-to body for content producers and developers with questions on alternative formats for the visually impaired.

INBAF is the first Irish organisation to advise on rules, layout and best practice for the Irish and English Braille codes used in Ireland. Braille is used worldwide in connection with handheld electronic devices and the technology subgroup of the INBAF will be able to advise on emerging new formats, such as iPad-compatible refreshable Braille displays.

Primarily, INBAF will offer advice on the implementation of the Unified English Braille (UEB) code, which has been in development for 15 years. The purpose of UEB is to have one English Braille code in use worldwide, the implementation of which may require changes to the current English Braille code that is taught and produced in Ireland.

INBAF will be looking at when and how UEB might be introduced in Ireland and to ensure that any transition passes by seamlessly. The association will also form a working group on Irish Braille in an effort to review and update the Irish Braille code in line with new developments worldwide.

Help and advice for producers of alternative formats

A collaboration between National Braille Production at ChildVision, the Media Centre at the NCBI and the Braille Unit at Arbour Hill Prison, the association will be available to offer assistance to anyone with questions on accessibility for the visually impaired, such as guidelines on large print or alternative formats, such as audio files.

“INBAF can provide help and advice to producers of alternative formats, educational establishments providing alternative formats and readers of alternative formats in Ireland,” says the outgoing INBAF chairperson, Ilka Stäglin.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.