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Ten simple ways to make your written information more accessible for all

The following article outlines 10 simple tips on how to make your written information accessible for all people regardless of age, size or disability:

  1. Accessible information policy: Develop an overall accessibility policy for the organisation.  The policy should communicate the organisation’s strategic framework for ongoing work on information accessibility.
  2. Style Guide/Source Document: Create a style guide (or source document) for your organisation and ensure all staff use this document when creating reports, documents and letters.  Creating a style guide allows documents to be easily converted into accessible formats (i.e. HTML and accessible PDFs).
  3. Write clear content:   Best practice recommends that content is written in plain English.  Plain English is defined as “a generic term for communication in English that emphasizes clarity, brevity, and the avoidance of technical language – particularly in relation to official government or business communication”.
  4. Terminology: Avoid using technical terms that may only be relevant to your business. Think about the information your organisation wants to communicate and who you are writing the information for. Understand your customer’s needs. 
  5. Abbreviations and acronyms: Try to keep abbreviations and acronyms to a minimum and make sure that you spell them out when using them for the first time within a written document.
  6. Use plain English: Make text easy to read and understand. Keep sentences short and be consistent with terms and formatting.
  7. Document design: Ensure your documents are designed to take into account the latest best practice.  For example, use san serif fonts. Ensure the text height is a minimum of 12 point. Avoid using block capital letters, italics and underlining were possible.
  8. Document layout: Ensure your documents are laid out correctly.  Avoid watermarks, ensure images are correctly located. Use clear formatting. Use left aligned text and ensure the images and graphs are relevant to the text.
  9. Alternative formats: Ensure to let people know that your documentation is available in alternative formats on request.
  10. Colour: good use of colour has an impact on how easy the document will be to read. Ensure good contrast between background colours and text. If using a light coloured text ensure a dark background is used. Avoid placing text in front of images or patterned backgrounds.  

For further information or assistance in creating accessible information provision, please contact us on 01-4151285 or e-mail [email protected] and we will forward additional relevant information.