Accessible formats

Accessible formats

Making your information accessible to everyone is key to ensuring that people know what you do! After all, if you have a great accessible venue you need to let people know it exists, so providing the information in a range of formats is important. But how do you create eye catching promotional material and ensure it’s as accessible as it can be? And what other formats should you consider producing for visually impaired people, people who have a learning disability or other communication requirements?

Take a look at some of our tips below for producing standard format and alternative format documents that are accessible.

General tips!

When producing any information whether a leaflet, online content or brochure there are some basic guidelines that you can follow to help ensure that your standard material is as accessible as possible. Take a look at our top basic tips below:

  • Text should be a minimum of size 12 font but ideally size 14.
  • Text should avoid italics and underlining as they can be difficult for people to read.
  • There should not be large blocks of text in capital letters as the letter formation can be harder for people to distinguish.
  • The type face should be sans serif (without the small strokes at the end of characters), for example Arial, Helvetica or Verdana (not Times New Roman). This is because Sans Serif fonts are easier for people to read and recognise.
  • Where possible words should not be hyphenated or split between two lines as it makes words harder to read. Additionally, single pieces of information like websites, phone numbers or email addresses should be kept to one line.
  • The colour contrast between the font and background colour should be clear, there are lots of handy online tools that you can help you assess the accessibility of your colour contrast, for example Web Accessibility in Mind.
  • Avoid overlapping of text over images as it can be hard for people to distinguish between the writing and the image.
  • Make sure your document has a clear structure, for example if there are long sections of text consider breaking it up with sub titles.
  • Leaving a space in between each paragraph can help people distinguish text from neighbouring paragraphs.
  • Use page numbers if your document has multiple pages, this makes it easier to navigate especially if the document is printed or people are likely to print it themselves.

Photograph of a large print leaflet on display

Large print

Large print format is simply what it says on the tin, a large print version of your information for visually impaired people or people with a learning disability. Large print documents will take into account the above tips plus will have a minimum font size of 16 but ideally 18.  

Take a look at the Disabled Access Day large print leaflet on the alternative formats page.

Symbol depicting audio

Audio

Audio is great for people with learning disabilities or visually impaired people and you don’t have to be high tech to create an audio version of a short document! You can record your own audio using your phone, computer with microphone input or good quality dictaphone, check out our tips below to recording your own audio version:

  • Start the audio with the title of the document and information about the content and the length of the recording.
  • Speak clearly and at a sensible speed so that it’s easy to understand.
  • Record the audio where it is quiet and there is no background noise.
  • Where there are pictures or diagrams explain them so the reader gets a clear idea of what the original document looks like.
  • Make sure your audio version is available in a range of formats including on a CD and in electronic format like MP3 and WAV.

For longer or complex documents, it’s recommended that you use professional services who will be able to follow the above guidelines, ensure quality and make sure navigation is easy to follow.

You can listen to the Disabled Access Day leaflet in audio on the alternative formats page.

Photograph of a museum layout with braille

Braille

There are approximately 12,000 braille readers in the UK according to the Sensory Trust. There are two types of braille, the first where there is letter to letter translation (uncontracted) and the second is similar to shorthand in that groups of letters are represented in a single braille cell, for example ‘the’, ‘and’, ‘for’, this is known as contracted braille and is used by more experienced braille users.

If you’re looking to have a braille format produced the RNIB has a transcription service which starts at 4p per page of text. The team can provide advice on what materials they can produce for you too.

Screenshot of easy read leaflet

Easy read

There are around 1.5 million people in the UK with a learning disability, providing information in easy read format can help people understand the message you’re communicating. Easy read takes the main points of a document and makes them easier to understand using simple language and pictures or symbols to help explain the message.

For more information on producing your own easy read documents take a look at Mencap’s ‘Make It Clear’ guidance or e-mail their easy read writing service (accessibility@mencap.org.uk).

Take a look at the Disabled Access Day leaflet in easy read format on the alternative formats page.

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One key tip if you have produced accessible formats: make sure you let people know about it! At a minimum your standard materials should state that you have accessible formats and how people should go about getting hold of them, but you can also advertise them on your website or display them alongside your standard materials.

Are you in the process of producing a range of alternative formats? Why not launch them on Disabled Access Day, there’s still plenty of time to have them produced in time for the day! Sign up now!