What does accessibility mean?
Accessibility is about making the information you are preparing clearer and easier for everyone to understand. It is a set of standards which are in place to help make material accessible to people with impaired vision, motor difficulties, cognitive impairment, deafness or with hearing impairments.
Additionally, legislation which came into force in 2020 means all downloadable documents and forms published on public sector websites and intranets must be accessible - this includes pdfs, forms, word documents and webpages.
The regulations say: "Accessibility means more than putting things online. It means making your content and design clear and simple enough so that most people can use it without needing to adapt it, while supporting those who do need to adapt things."
When we talk about making documents accessible it means considering things such as:
- Using Plain English - to keep language clear and simple.
- Using heading to structure your document - to help people navigate around it.
- Thinking carefully about colour and contrast - in terms of text versus the background or colours in a table.
- When including links it is important to embed the link itself rather than pasting in an entire URL - always remember to use screentips to describe the information.
- When using an image always use 'alt text' - to explain what the image shows.
- Keep tables as simple as possible - try to avoid split or merged cells.
- Use captions to subtitle videos - don't rely on the auto generated subtitles on platforms like YouTube for example.
How to create accessible content for:
Managers' Briefings - communications issued
10 May 2022: Managers' Briefing - support on making information accessible [114kb]
21 September 2020 - Managers' Briefing - key change in legislation and guide for staff on how to create accessible information [555kb]