Inclusive SA

Learning disability and literacy difficulties

Accessible print

How to make sure your printed publications reach the widest range of people.

Why it's important

  • Kris has dyslexia. Kris finds the structure of printed documents helps to process information.
  • Marlee lives in Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara. Access to internet connection is limited. Marlee just needs to grasp key information quickly. Marlee doesn't have time to read complex publications.
  • Kala has a learning disability. Kala needs to be able to understand information about university admission. People with learning disability need access to all types of information. Not just disability-specific information.
  • Tony is on home detention and unable to access the internet. A printed guide helps Tony understand important information about home detention rules.

Steps to take

  1. Read Vision Australia's guide to online and print inclusive design and legibility considerations.
  2. Use plain language. If your publication is easy to read it helps more people understand what to do. This includes people with lower reading comprehension.
  3. Use pictures and diagrams where appropriate.
  4. Use a plain, sans serif font, such as:
    • Arial
    • Calibri
    • Helvetica
    • Century
    • Gothic
    • Verdana.
  5. Make sure there is significant colour contrast between the text and the background.
  6. Avoid using UPPER CASE or italics. Only use underlining for hyperlinks.
  7. Use a minimum of 12-point type size for all text. For large-print documents, use a minimum 18-point type size.
  8. Use uncluttered text with no background graphics, patterns or watermarks.
  9. Left-align text.
  10. Use bold or larger print for important information.
  11. Print your publication on matte or satin non-reflective paper.

Providing alternative formats

  1. Make sure all printed material is available on request in alternative formats.
  2. Include a statement informing readers of this. For example. “this publication is available in alternative formats (such as online, audio tape or braille), on request from people with disability.”
  3. Read the State Government guide to accessible PDF and Word documents.

Supporting resources

Easy Read guide

Make your written information easier to understand for everyone.

Why it's important

  • Dorota is the Chief Executive of an Australian Government department. Dorota needs to grasp key information quickly for a parliamentary request. Dorota doesn't have time to read complex government documents, reports or policies.
  • Marlee lives in Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara. Access to internet connection is limited. Like Dorota, Marlee just needs to grasp key information quickly. Marlee doesn't have time to read complex government documents, reports or policies.
  • Kala has a learning disability. Kala needs to be able to understand information about their university admission. People with learning disability need access to all types of information. Not just disability-specific information.
  • Areeb is not fluent in English. Easy read helps Areeb understand important information about a community event.
  • Kris has dyslexia. Kris finds the structure of easy read helps to  process information.

What is easy read?

Information presented in easy read benefits everyone.

This is because information is made easier to understand by:

  • using plain language
  • using short sentences
  • telling people exactly what they need to know.

For example:

  • We have a policy for making technology accessible.
  • Everyone who works in the South Australian Government needs to use our policy.
  • Our policy was approved on 16 May 2019.

Pictures can also used to support the meaning of words.

For example:

An example of Easy Read. Three sentences, each accompanied by a supporting graphic. The first sentence reads: We have a policy for making technology accessible. The supporting graphic is a representation of a document labelled 'Policy'. The second sentence reads: Everyone who works in the South Australian Government needs to use our policy. The supporting graphic is an icon representing government superimposed over a simple map of South Australia. The final sentence reads: Our policy was approved on 16 May 2019. The supporting graphic is a calendar page marked 16 May 2019.

Steps to take

  1. Follow the Australian Government's easy read guide.
  2. If you're considering commissioning easy read versions of your publications from an expert organisation. We can help with this. Email us at onlineaccessibility@sa.gov.au.
  3. Watch the video about easy read from Mencap (YouTube 2.30 mins).

Supporting resources

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

Plain language

If content is easy to read it helps more people understand what to do. This includes people with lower reading comprehension.

Why it's important

  • Adara is not a native English speaker. Adara sometimes find it hard to understand legal or bureaucratic words.
  • Aadhya is a lawyer. Aadhya needs to quickly find and understand government information.
  • Kai has low tech literacy. Kai often doesn’t understand highly technical language.

Steps to take

  1. Use the Australian Government Style Manual as an ongoing reference point. The manual has advice on plain language and links to plain language resources.
  2. As you’re writing, think about the literacy level of your target audience. Improve the reach of your online content by reading the State Government introduction to easy read.
  3. The page title is the first thing someone using a screen reader will hear. It’s important to write a clear title. Search results usually show the page title so it must describe the page clearly.
  4. Expand abbreviations and acronyms the first time you use them.
  5. Include in-line definitions for scientific, legal, or technical terms. Only use these terms if needed.
  6. Think about adding a glossary. This helps if your content has a lot of terms that could be unfamiliar.
  7. Avoid using idioms.
  8. Avoid using sarcasm. If sarcasm is used, explicitly state that the statement was sarcasm. Through text, sarcasm can be much harder to convey for everyone, but it may be especially confusing for people with autism.
  9. Clearly communicate warnings, status messaging, and confirmation messages. These can assist people with cognitive and learning disability.
  10. Test the readability of your content. Useful tools include the Hemingway AppReadable.io and Juicy Studio. If you are editing in MS Word, see how to turn on Flesch-Kincaid. When testing the readability of content using readability tools, remove the proper nouns so it does not affect the score.
  11. Watch World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) understandable content video (1 min).

Supporting resource

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

See also these sections:

This site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2021 DHS .

Provided by:
Department of Human Services
URL:
https://inclusive.sa.gov.au/resources/state-authority-resources/accessible-communication-toolkit/literacy
Last Updated:
12 Aug 2020
Printed on:
28 Nov 2021
The Inclusive SA website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016