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Rapport Building and Communicating Safety and Welfare Supporting Specific Needs

Communication and Marketing Guidance for the Visually Impaired

Practical advice and essential insight to help you ensure that you’re communicating effectively with people with a visual impairment and that your marketing and communications are fit for purpose

To download a PDF version of the information on this page, which you can print out and refer to, please click here


It’s essential to take the following points into account when communicating with blind and partially sighted people and in designing and writing marketing communications that are suitable for all.


  • Bear in mind that eye contact may be non-existent or appear unusual in comparison to sighted people in some instances. In other people it may appear the same as sighted people.  
  • Always ask someone if there is anything that you can help them with and make sure to introduce yourself by using your name even when it is the first time that you have met someone.  
  • Do not assume that you know what someone may want: let them tell you what they need.  
  • A visually impaired person who regularly attends the facility may not recognise you (or your voice), especially out of context, so always begin a conversation by introducing yourself and use the person’s name if you know it. 
  • Speak normally! There is no need to avoid words like ‘see’, ‘look’ and ‘watch’. Blind and partially sighted people tend to appreciate being treated the same as everyone else. 
  • Try to avoid non-verbal communication, such as nodding.
  • If you are giving directions to someone, then be specific and avoid pointing. For example, say "the access barrier is one metre away and it is directly in front of you", as opposed to "the access barrier is over there.” 
  • Consider using the clock face system with description when communicating with people. For example, “The treadmill is at 10 o’clock and 2 metres away.”
  • If you’re handing them equipment on a table, at reception or somewhere else, describe where it is and navigate their hand if necessary, only after asking permission. Let the person follow your arm down to the equipment and at no point pull someone towards equipment.  
  • When describing something, try to give a clear word picture, including details such as colour, texture, shape and landmarks if applicable. This helps to build a picture of the environment that people are in.  
  • If you are leaving the conversation, let the blind or partially sighted person know you are leaving. 

Marketing and General Communication

A key requirement of the Equality Act is to provide information in accessible formats.

As well as being a key requirement, it is only logical to ensure that you can communicate with your members, users and staff in formats that are suitable for them.

Additionally, there is a significant chance that by providing material in an accessible format, you will see an increase in the number of people using the facilities.

Consideration should be given to alternative formats across all your communication platforms, including, but not limited to:

  • website
  • email
  • newsletters
  • social media posts
  • videos
  • other printed material, such as posters, flyers, banners etc.

Large text

Creating communication material with larger text can often be beneficial for partially sighted people.

While different font sizes are required by different people, font size 14 is recommended for easy read communications.


Providing the material in specific fonts may also be necessary for your members and users. Bearing in mind that some people may require their content in a particular font, it is advisable to use Arial unless otherwise informed.

Image descriptions or alt text

An image description or Alt Text is a textual description of images that are present within digital material. An image description is generally a more detailed explanation of an image when compared to Alt Text.

Blind and partially sighted people may use screen readers to access digital content, which will read the image description or Alt Text out loud. Alt text and image descriptions can provide essential information such as text, links, and image details.

It is recommended that Alt Text be 125 characters or less with image descriptions being slightly longer.

Optimise the website

Websites are often the gateway for people to gather information about your products and services. It is therefore important that your website is as accessible as possible.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (known as WCAG 2.1) are an internationally recognised set of recommendations for improving web accessibility and are based on four design principles:

  • Perceivable: to make sure you can recognise it with the senses that you have.
  • Operable: to make sure it can be used no matter how it is accessed.
  • Understandable: to make sure the content is understandable.
  • Robust: to make sure it can be interpreted widely by assistive technology.

The four design principles are intended to ensure that websites are created that focus on how people will interact with the content. For example, for blind and partially sighted people this may mean that the website:

  • enables a screen reader to read the content to someone
  • has different colour contrasts
  • has bigger text
  • enables voice commands to be used.

In order to advise your blind and partially sighted members and users, it’s important to be familiar with the inclusive access features that your website has.

Make the call to action accessible

If, through your website, newsletter or social media content, you require some further action from someone, make sure that this call to action is accessible. This might be registering for an exercise class or buying a membership.

Make sure that any online forms are laid out in a logical manner and clearly highlight what information is required by the user.

Audio description

Videos are a great way to launch new products or services to your customers. They are increasingly used in social media posts and within digital newsletters.

To make sure that your videos are accessible, consider creating an alternative inclusive version that includes audio description, the verbal description of the visual elements that appear in videos.

The aim of audio description is to provide verbal information on the visual content that is essential to understand what is on the screen. Often audio descriptions occur in sections of a video where there is no audio provided in the original video.

Representative imagery

Using imagery that represents blind and partially sighted people in communication and marketing materials such as videos, social media, case studies and posters, demonstrates that you are inclusive.

It helps to normalise the idea of their attendance in the minds of staff and facility users.

Back to the Toolkit

Navigate back to the main toolkit page for Inclusive Facilities: Supporting People With a Visual Impairment


Related Resources

  • Communicating with Visually Impaired Participants

  • Coaching People with Visual Impairments

  • British Blind Sport Accelerates Drive to Establish More Inclusive Coaching System


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