Welcome UEB: A Little History, Resources, and a Call for Input from Families!

Plain braille page, macro and blue-toned.

Editor’s note: This is the third blog entry that both informs and requests the assistance of families in answering important questions that impact all who use braille. Please help Drs. Holly Lawson and Kathryn Botsford with this effort.

This is an exciting month: Louis Braille’s birthday, World Braille Day, and the United States has officially transitioned to the Unified English Braille (UEB) code.

The US is actually the last English-speaking country to make the switch. UEB isn’t new. It actually has a long history.

A Pop Quiz:

Which country was the first to adopt the UEB?

Answer: Did you guess the United Kingdom? What about Canada? Or Australia? If you did, guess again.

South Africa was the first country to adopt the UEB (May 2004). They were followed the next year by Nigeria (February); Australia (May); and New Zealand (November).

The UK and Canada both waited to adopt UEB, with Canada coming on board in 2010 and the UK waiting until 2012. The US is the last English-speaking nation to officially transition to UEB. We did so on January 1, 2016! The United States is joining the UEB party.

We are holding two online focus group meetings to gathering stories from families about your expectations and thoughts about the changes to the braille code. We will use these experiences to help explore how families are making the transitions. We also plan to ask questions about your suggestions for designing an online braille eLearning platform. Please help us learn more about what is happening for parents and families by joining us for an online focus group webinar on either:

For more information on the UEB, UEB Prep, or the UEB Prep Parent Focus Group please contact:

Dr. Kathryn Botsford (206-849-3021) or Dr. Holly Lawson (503-725-4595) at Portland State University, Portland, Oregon.