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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.