Checklist for making your literature more accessible
Listed below are some suggestions about how to provide accessible written information. This guide is based on extracts from a document originally written by Rachael Litherland from Innovations in Dementia.
- Present information logically, one piece at a time.
- Keep language simple without being patronising.
- Write concisely. Remove unnecessary words and keep to one subject in each sentence.
- Be consistent in the words that you use.
- Avoid jargon. Explain all terms and concepts clearly.
- Paragraphs should make sense on their own.
- Quotations and examples can help to put information in context.
- Use of colour helps with interest and concentration.
- A booklet is better than looseleaf papers. It reduces the possibility of losing sections.
- Don’t overwhelm with too much information: less is often more.
Use of pictures
- Diagrams and pictures alongside text are helpful. However, images should be relevant.
- Photographs are often preferable to illustrations which are sometimes difficult to interpret or can feel patronising.
- Photographs should clearly represent the image rather than being ‘artistic’.
- Text should not overlay pictures of photographs.
- Two columns of text are difficult to read. One column is much easier for the eye to follow.
- Bigger type is easier to read. A font size of at least 14 is ideal.
- Avoid italics: it is more difficult to read.
- Choose an uncluttered font without ‘curly bits’.
- Lots of white space around text is good. Too many words on a page can be overwhelming.
- Always finish a sentence on the same page that it starts on.
Making sense of content
- Colour can be used to distinguish between different sections of information.
- Use bullet points, bold text, titles and headings to separate information and present it in manageable ‘chunks’.
- Put information that you want to stand out inside boxes. This can help people to return to information that they found useful.