Through our work with local authorities and charities, we have developed an appreciation and sensitivity for inclusive design and an awareness of SENDA compliancy. Our method of approaching a publication that requires accessibility is to consider all the elements affecting the readability and overall perception of the document. These elements are type, imagery, colour and white space.
The statements below are a general overview of our approach to accessibility. We are aware that every project has its own unique set of parameters and our adherence to these guidelines are adaptable to the requests and needs of the client. Our overall aim is always to fulfil the brief and be sensitive to the requirements of accessibility without compromising creativity.
The typeface needs to be clean and open. Clear and distinguishable in all weights, the main consideration is its legibility when set in large amounts. We would also choose a second font for headlines, to add contrast and variety. More than two fonts and the design can start to look untidy.
Body copy would ideally be 12 pt and consistently left aligned. The leading should be at least 2 pt greater than the font size to leave a distinct space between lines but not so large that the text does not flow easily. There should be no use of italics or all capitals in either the copy or the headlines.
Images should reflect the audience, whether in age, gender or other diversities among the target group, and should be positive in their representation to provide content that is identifiable. Images can be used to enhance messages or add further explanation by way of diagrams.
Choice of colour is important especially when used with text. All colours, primary and secondary, must have sufficient contrast so that any coloured type is still clear. Similarly, text needs to stand out against the colour when used in the background. The colour should not be overpowering and be so vivid that optical illusions occur between it and the text, or any other element on the page.
The correct choice of colours is very important since in an accessible document we often use them as a highlighting device, as not all type styles will be available to us due to their lack of accessibility.
Lastly, the white space plays an important part, giving the impression of a cleaner, clearer document. More white space, such as bigger margins or wider gutters, enables a design to breathe, giving the appearance that there is less on the page than there might actually be. This persuades an audience to read more and presents a document that is seemingly approachable and user-friendly.
Thanks to our experiences with other clients, it has become second nature to design with accessibility in mind, whether it be for those with disabilities or learning difficulties or people for whom English is a second language.