Easy Read: Helping Make Information Accessible
Using the principles of easy read makes information much more accessible
Learn How To Prepare Easy Read!
1. Setting up the page
Note the image to the left and the extra line spacing
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, such as Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Helvetica, or Myriad. Avoid fonts that resemble 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 at the bottom
This makes it easier for someone to keep track of what they have read. The bottom right or bottom in the centre works the best.
Add extra space between lines of text
Using 1.5cm line spacing instead of Word's default 1 centimeter makes your text easier to read.
National Hockey League NHL
Do not Don't
Language should be plain, acronyms explained, and symbols avoided
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 £.
Images should be large and unambiguous. The image on the left is a much better choice for 'female'.
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 photos
Symbols and abstract concepts can be difficult to understand and their meanings often must be learned. Ensure that your photos can be understood by your reader.
Use large images
Images should be large and easy to make out.
If you are working with a designer or editor who is not familiar with easy read, you may find them changing the document to make it look more appealing. It is important that you review their work, and are clear that changes should not be made to aspects such as the format, font size, or images if they take the document out of easy read principles.
If you are helping provide easy read translation for someone else, you should check with them to ensure that you have correctly interpreted the information and that their message is still clear in the easy read version.
Easy Read Checklist
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
Before going further, quickly take a look at any of these examples of easy read material. Once you've done that, you'll be more prepared to write accessible content of your own.
Example 2: Passenger Transportation Questionnaire
Example 3: Smoke Free Advisory
An example of easy read from a smoke-free advisory