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26 Aug 2015

Creating Easy Read Content


Creating Easy Read Content

"The main purpose of an Easy Read document is to tell people with learning disabilities what they need to know. Easy Read is not a simple translation of existing documents into easier to understand language. Easy Read versions should concentrate on the main points of a document so that people with learning disabilities can understand the main issues and make decisions if necessary.”
from the Government Service Design Manual, gov.uk

At focusgov, web site accessibility is an important aspect of our work, and we are always looking at ways that can help us make web site content more accessible to as wide range of users as possible.

Easy Read is a format that can help make information and advice more accessible to people with learning difficulties, and we've created a short list of points to consider if you are pondering the creation of some Easy Read content:

1. Firstly, decide if Easy Read is the most appropriate format. There are other effective ways of communicating with people with learning difficulties including video, audio and presentations.

2. Consider who the information is for and extract the points that are important; these will form the basis of your Easy Read content.

3. Keep things brief - as a general guide, keep sentences under 15 words each and avoid jargon or complicated words. If you do need to use difficult words, then highlight them in the text and explain what they mean.

4. Usually an Easy Read layout consists of pictures on the left and text on the right, and remember that pictures should be big enough to be seen clearly.

5. For wording, use a sans serif font with a minimum size of say, sixteen points. 

6. Make sure there is good contrast between page colour and the colour of text on it. For web sites, offer options to view content in alternative contrast styles.

7. In our experience, it is not realistic to provide an Easy Read version of a complete web site; we feel it's best to start with something manageable for administrators and meaningful for users. Start small and build from there.

We're now implementing flexible Easy Read solutions for our Local Offer and Care Act Information and Advice web sites; increasing the accessibility of our web sites and helping local authorities communicate more effectively with people who have learning difficulties. If you'd like to know more about our work with Easy Read then please contact the focusgov team.


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