Accessible Documents – Readability

Readability is important for everyone and critical to accessibility. A document should be easy to see and understandable. If you have a user with low or no vision, using the tips we’ve talked about previously this semester will make the document “easy to see” (easier to interact) with a screen reader or other assistive technology.

Victoria College Editorial Style Guide

Depending on your audience, you may need to consult the VC Editorial Style Guide. Go to Pirate Portal > Employee Resources > Marketing & Communications > VC Editorial Style Guide.

Easy to See

Your document should be easy to see, especially if you expect people to print the document, too.

  • Use 12-18 point fonts for paragraph/body text. (Use 10 point font at the very least for paragraph text and headings will obviously be larger.)
  • Be judicious in use of CAPS.
  • Use simple, sans serif fonts. (Avoid “flowery” fonts for text.)
  • Use normal weight fonts (rather than bold or light fonts).
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Provide sufficient contrast and don’t use color alone to convey information.
  • Avoid images of text (aka WordArt).

Understandable

  • Use the clearest and simplest language appropriate to the content and be sure to double check spelling and grammar.
  • Create navigation that is clear and consistent and use the concept of chunking for logical order.
  • Introduce acronyms, explain any jargon, and spell out at least the first instance of abbreviations.
  • Be consistent with repeated content so that the reader is not confused.
  • Allow white space and avoid too much busyness. (Avoid too many different colors, fonts, images, etc.)
  • Be sure the reading order matches up with the visual order. (This is important to double check once the document is converted to PDF.)

 

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