Unified English Braille, also known as UEB, is a braille code designed by the International Council on English Braille (ICEB). The primary goal behind designing the UEB was to simplify and unify the braille system for encoding English.
People with vision impairment have used braille to access literary material for decades. However, just like all literary material is not alike, all braille is not the same. There are several official braille coding systems, including:
- Literary code
- Math notation and science notation codes
- Textbook formats and techniques code
UEB created a singular braille code for English-speaking countries worldwide.
As we celebrate the historic 10th anniversary of UEB adoption, let’s take a quick look at why UEB was adopted, which countries use it, and its significance in braille’s evolution.
What does UEB mean in braille?
UEB stands for Unified English Braille. As the name suggests, it’s a braille code standard used by many English-speaking countries today, including the United States, to represent and unify the code for literary and technical materials.
Why was UEB created?
Since braille’s creation in 1892, it has undergone many changes. For example, the development of rules to represent literary text, technical and scientific material, and even special characters (like @ and #). Different countries used different coding systems, creating even more variety in an already complex set of rules. This created significant problems for braille users who wished to read, access, or write large amounts of material written by a foreign entity.
The main reason for creating UEB was to provide a uniform braille code to the English-speaking world.
When was UEB adopted in the US?
The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) passed a motion to eventually replace the English Braille American Edition with the UEB. After extensive planning and dialog that involved more than 30 organizations and teachers, transcribers, and individual users, UEB was adopted in the US on November 2, 2012.
UEB’s goal was to bring standardization and consistency in the various braille coding systems used in the US and other English-speaking countries.
Which countries use UEB?
Currently, the following countries use Unified English Braille:
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- United States of America