Making text accessible

When preparing slides or drafting written materials for students it is extremely important to make the materials as accessible as possible. You could ask your colleagues what they already do to achieve this and following the discussion you could introduce this prompt sheet used at BCU as an example.

Making text accessible

Some general pointers

  • Where feasible, opt for larger, sans serif fonts
  • Be aware of contrast between the text and the background.
  • Be wary of cramming a lot of text into a small space (use bulleted lists to identify key points).

Note: there are many sources of advice – in books, and on the internet – relating to accessibility for those with difficulties associated with SpLDs (e.g. dyslexia), visual impairments (including colour vision issues) and information processing problems.

Hopefully, the points covered above will encourage you to consider the issues. Keep in mind, however, that many recommendations are broad generalisations. Where feasible – and especially, if you are generating digital resources – the ideal option is to allow the reader/learner to configure his/her own resources. In other words, give the learner access to the file, rather than just the hard copy.

  • For a demonstration of the use fonts, contrasts and cramming text into a small space, consult the Word document.


Further notes:

  • Some readers, including those with dyslexia, may use a plastic overlay when reading from paper. The overlay is used to tint the background or reduce contrast. Those readers, and others, may tint the background when reading from the computer screen.
  • Other readers may use hand-held magnifiers or other magnification devices. Some may use screen-reader software. A small number use braille.
  • As teachers and lecturers, it’s in your interest – and in the interest of you learners – to facilitate access to information wherever feasible. Always aim to be aware of the needs of those in your student group.

Source: Birmingham City University