Accessible and inclusive information

It is important to present information in a format that people can read, understand and that makes them feel included.

Not having information in the right format can be the difference between participating or not.

There is a wealth of resource and advice available to help you get it right.

Subtitles on Videos

Closed caption subtitles on videos are essential for some people and really useful for many – think how many videos are watched from mobile devices with the sound switched off.  

YouTube allows you to add subtitles to videos uploaded to the platform and there is a variety of software out there that allows you to add captions.

Easy Read Documents

Information that is presented well can make it easier to read. Easy Read is a style of information chosen by some people with learning disabilities. There is no one way to create easy read and there are variety of online resources and organisations who can help you produce information in easy read.

Generally Easy Read will make it clear who the information is for. Easy read will use easy words in short sentences, with images supporting the text. Large print and plain (san serif) fonts help.

  • It is important where pictures and text are placed: pictures tend to go on the left, and text on the right.
  • Keep text left aligned so that it is to the left in your text area
  • Titles or headings can be centre aligned
  • Having information close together can be confusing so find ways to separate different parts and sections. Boxes can be a good way of doing this.
  • Careful use of colour can help separate different parts of the information. Remember black text on a white background can be hard for some to read.
  • Bullet lists are good for grouping information, but don’t overdo it.
  • A space of about 8cm for pictures allows you to have larger pictures and helps keep lines of text shorter.
  • Try not to use long or difficult words, and try to avoid shortened words. More than 15 words in a sentence can make it hard to read.
  • Be consistent – if you refer to a meeting, don’t call it a review later in the document.
  • Keep your font size to 14 or above. Fancy fonts are often hard to read. Arial, Verdana and Tahoma are good fonts.
  • Too much punctuation can be complicated for some. Limit yourself to commas and full stops.
  • One picture meaning more than one thing can be confusing (e.g. a picture of a cup meaning Cup, or a Cup of Tea)
  • Keep a large gap between lines to help the person easily move from one line to the next. 

Dyslexia friendly

There a number of tips to help someone who may find it hard identifying letters, matching letters to sounds of words, or confusing the meanings of words.

  • Use a rounded (san serif) font – Arial, verdana, Tahoma,
  • At least 12pt font size with 1.5 lines pacing
  • Avoid capitals – they can make identifying letter shape and whole words difficult
  • Avoid italics – letters can merge together
  • Simplify complex or long sentences
  • Break up points into paragraphs or bullet points
  • Use headings and subheadings to help the reader navigate the text
  • Use a light background colour
  • Use pictures to support information – flowcharts, pictograms, graphs etc

Visual impairment

People with a visual impairment will access information in a variety of ways, using printed words, or computer software and technologies. There is no one size fits all. As a start point:

  • Consider large print versions of essential information, and versions that have different background colour / text
  • Use a minimum of 12pt font size and san serif fonts
  • Make essential information available electronically
  • Avoid Capitals and italics
  • Use styles and headings, and page numbers in word – they will help a screen reader user navigate the document
  • Add an ‘alt tag’ description to images and a short text explanation for graphs
  • Avoid text over images
  • Use good colour contrast
  • Provide a variety of contact points (e.g. web, email, social, phone)

Further reading

Accessibility Training Videos: How to make Microsoft Word more accessible

Accessibility Training Videos: How to make Excel more accessible

Accessibility Training Videos: How to make PowerPoint more accessible

Accessibility Training Videos: How to make Outlook (Email) more accessible

Accessibility Training Videos: How to make Publisher more accessible

9 tips to making your website accessible

AI: What is accessible Information?

NHS: What is accessible information?

Mencap: Accessible Information Standard (Easy-to-read example)

Gov: Accessible Communication Formats

British Dyslexia Association: Creating Dyslexia Friendly Content

ThoughtCO: Creating a Dyslexia Friendly Classroom

AbilityNet: Producing accessible materials for print and online

Thanks for reading - now return to the start

Improving the Communication Environment

Get access to lots of templates for you to use by downloading the word document