Whether it’s a report, Powerpoint presentation, poster, or information leaflet, follow these five simple design tips to make your documents accessible.
Using Headings and Styles throughout a document automatically creates a searchable document with easy navigation. Screen readers used by the blind and partially-sighted use these headings to create chaptered sound files, which are much easier to search and edit.
Text clarity is important for all users, however if you having a learning difference or disability it is vital to accessing the resource. When deciding on a font style, choose a clear font with space around each character letter with no flicks or tails on the letters. These are much easier to read for many people, but particularly those with sight problems.
There are many accessible Sans Serif fonts that can be used, below are a few examples.
Below are a few examples of inaccessible Serif fonts, which should be avoided:
The examples below show how use of Sans Serif fonts can help maintain clarity even for those users who find text harder to access:
Dyslexic User Perspective
Sight Impaired User perspective
Left aligning text reduces eye movements and enables you to read the text easily. It is particularly helpful for those with partial sight, or those who use a keyboard (rather than a keyboard and mouse) to navigate the text.
1.5 spacing or higher increases the space around text making it much easier for those with sight problems to view. Breaking up dense blocks of text in this way can also make information less overwhelming and easier to read for those with learning differences affecting reading and writing, such as dyslexia.
The choice of background and font colour can have a marked effect on how clearly text can be seen. The columns below show some examples of background colour and font colour combinations.
Column A shows poor contrast between the background and font colours. This makes the text difficult to read. Some of the colours chosen clash, creating an uncomfortable viewing experience for all viewers. It is also worth noting that 1 in 100 men and 1 in 300 women are red/green colour blind, meaning that many people cannot read red and green together. Colours to avoid, particularly together are red, green and often yellow.
Column B shows good contrast between dark text and the light background. This combination supports the widest group of users. It is easy on the eye, and clear to read for those with a learning difference affecting sensory processing (such as dyslexia or autism). Note that a pale colour is chosen rather than white, as the stark contrast between black and white can be perceived as harsh and strain the eyes.
Column C shows good contrast between light text on a dark background. This is accessible and most legible for those with a sight impairment. It is often used in banners to grab attention but some users can find it overwhelming when reading larger amounts of text, and much prefer the pastel background. You may want to consider using these combinations of light text on a dark background sparingly, depending on your intended audience.
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