Design Typography
Michæl McFarland Campbell  

Accessibility issues at Iarnród Éireann lifts

For the last few weeks, travelling between Monasterevin and Port Laoise, I have noticed new signage at the lifts at stations on the Iarnród Éireann network. Helpfully this signage has large clear icons next to the instructions to aid understanding. The instructions are shown both as Gaeilge and in English. There is an additional line of Braille under the instructions to improve accessibility. All of this is much better than the previous signage. However, I have spotted a couple of issues with what is displayed, and have highlighted these to Iarnród Éireann.

First of all, the second and third of the large clear icons seem to be in the wrong places. The second instruction,

Brúitear an cnaipe / Press button

has a speaking telephone indicated next to it.

The third instruction,

Labhair leis an oibreoir / Speak to operator

has a Press button icon next to it.

It seems to me that no one checked the signs before they were printed. Since they are on all the updated and improved lifts on the network, it seems a significant waste of money to have allowed them to go to press without checking that they were correct.

Secondly, while it is fantastic to see Braille appearing on signage to improve accessibility for those with sight difficulties, it is disappointing to see that the Braille is up only in English. Ireland is a bilingual country. We have a national language, Irish, and a second official language, English. (Article 8, Bunreacht na hÉireann). Since 2014, there has been an Updated Irish Braille standard, approved by the Irish National Braille and Alternative Format Association. I accept that there may be accessibility issues in having Braille up in more than one language, but surely there is some way of managing this? Given we have both the Irish and the English in the latin characters on the signage, can we not have both Irish and English Braille as well?

I have raised both these issues via Twitter:

I will report back if there is any major response from Iarnród Éireann.

A sound from my past

As an aside, I have fond memories of waking up at my grandparents’ house in Cornwall to the sound of the Perkins Brailler being used by my grandfather. He used to help the RNIB by Brailling books for them. It was a very comforting sound throughout my teenage years when staying there.

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