Accessible Writing And Information
Accessible information is just as important as accessible physical spaces. Learn how to prepare written material that can reach a wider audience!
What is easy read?
Easy read is one of the most effective ways of making information accessible. Easy read is:
Written information, supported by pictures
Writing that is clear and easy to read and understand
Developed to support people with intellectual disability better understand written information
Who is it for?
Easy read information is for people who have difficulty reading and understanding written information. Easy read information is for some people who:
Have a learning disability
Have low literacy levels
Use English as a second language
Examples of easy read
Before going further, quickly look at any of these examples of easy read material. Once you have done that, you will be more prepared to write accessible content of your own.
Example 2: Passenger Transportation Questionnaire
Example 3: Smoke Free Advisory
Preparing accessible material
Setting up the page
Use wide margins
Using wide margins is important, because for easy read information there must be enough room on the left-hand side for comprehension aiding visuals to accompany the next. Leave at least 8 cm for your visuals.
Place images on the left
People generally find it easier to follow when images are to the left of the text, and this prevents confusion about which images match which text
Use a large, clear font
Using a large font of 14pt at minimum, or preferably 16pt or larger, helps with comprehension. Use fonts that are clear and plain, like Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Helvetica, or Myriad. Avoid fonts resembling handwriting.
Keep text short
Keeping lines of text on the shorter side makes reading less intimidating and information easier to remember. Try not to write much more than 20 words in each line.
Number your pages
This makes it easier for someone to keep track of what they have read
Add extra space between lines of text
Using 1.5 line spacing instead of Word's default 1.0 makes your text easier to read
Write in short, clear sentences using basic language
Using easy words and steering clear of jargon aids comprehension. For a list of basic alternatives to difficult words and phrases, click here.
Give only one piece of info per sentence
For easy read audiences, include only one piece of info per sentence. For example, 'The store is open. The store sells Books.' instead of 'The store is open and it sells books'.
Spell out acronyms
Spell out acronyms and explain their meaning. For example, 'NBA means National Basketball Association. It is a professional basketball league.'
Some easy read audiences rely on, for example, the 'not' in 'do not' to understand what is meant. Using contractions can therefore make comprehension more difficult.
Use digits, not letters
For example, write 9 instead of nine. It is easier to understand.
Many symbols are unfamiliar to people. Try to use words instead of symbols like &, #, %, $, and £
You can find images free and quickly
You can find pictures on the Clipart function of Word. Simply select 'Insert', then 'Online Pictures', then search away for what you want!
Be weary of using symbols or abstract photo
Symbols and abstract concepts can be difficult to understand and their meanings often take time to learn. Ensure that your photos can be understood by your reader.
Use large images
Images should be large and easy to make out