Think about your layout and design
Needs to be at least size 12 point typesize – smaller sizes are difficult to read. The Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) recommends using 14 point so that you reach more customers.
- Use a clear typeface, e.g. Arial or Gill Sans
- Avoid pretty typefaces
- Don't use block capitals
- Use bold, don’t underline
- Highlight information in a text box
Consider whether your doucument will need to be photocopied and the overall effect on the clarity of the images used.
Use clear pictures of disabled people, minority ethnic communities and white people to illustrate the information, where appropriat
Use non-glossy paper, because glossy paper reflects light and can be difficult for some people to read
Have good contrast between print and background: black or dark ink on white, off-white or yellow paper is easier to read, particularly by visually impaired people, and therefore improves the chance of the document actually being read! Avoid using yellow ink as few visually impaired people will be able to read it. Also avoid green and red (ink or background), as it can be difficult for those who are colour blind.
Avoid shading, pictures or other text behind the body of the text, which make the print hard to read.
Avoid text printed at different angles on a page.
On all publications, you should include this information:
"This information is available in other formats, such as large print, audio, Braille, Word documents for screen readers, another language or easier to read format. Please contact [Hantsdirect number]." - or words to this effect. Make sure this message is in large print. Use 16-point type whenever possible. If this is not practical, e.g. on very small documents, then ideally use 14 point.
When you are producing a document or publication, think about who it is for. If it is mainly for older people, then you will need larger print, and you are very likely to be asked for a large print version or an audio version.
If the publication is for people with a learning disability, then it will need to be in an easier to read format, and also audio, as most people will find this helpful.
Some people with a visual impairment might use a screen reader so will need information in a Word document in order to use this equipment.
There is guidance on producing alternative format publications in the next section.
Producing an alternative format
You will need to ensure that you have enough money left in your budget to create alternative formats.
You will also need to take into account the timescale to produce alternative formats, which could be anything from 1 week to 6 weeks.
You must be prepared to produce your information in alternative formats within the timescales specified below.
Before you get the alternative formats made, you will need to ensure that the content has been finalised and approved.
See the useful contacts section for suppliers
If you are getting audio copies produced, find out if people prefer CD or tape, or get some of each. You will also need to prepare a script before you can send the text to be recorded.
Large print and screen reader:
Large print versions should not be photocopier enlarged. They will need to be made on Word documents, or ideally get the designer to produce a large print version of the original. Remember that all page references etc will need to be checked and amended accordingly. If a document is very large, then it might be appropriate to ask the person if they just want relevant sections printed, or the whole document.
Alternatively the person may use a screen reader, and will therefore want the text as a Word document so they can read it off the page.
Check with the person what they would prefer.
Easier to read versions:
If it is a small document, then you can use the guidance 668kb on producing easier to read versions, See
If it is a big document, you may want to consider outsourcing it. Make sure you leave plenty of time for this. The useful contacts section has more information.
If you are a Hampshire County Council member of staff who needs any help or advice, then contact your communications team in your department.