Accessible information and communications

Learn how to make your information and communications accessible.

It’s important to ensure all our information and communications, whether printed or digital/electronic are accessible to everyone.

Who do we need to consider?

People with a wide range of circumstances benefit from accessible information, including those who have:

  • Vision impairments
  • Mobility impairments
  • Learning difficulties
  • Hearing impairments
  • Have English as a second language
  • Use mobile phones or other small displays
  • Have slow internet connections
  • Where video or audio are disabled

How to make your information and communications accessible

Below are some ways to make your information and communications accessible to a wide audience. More in-depth ways on how to make your content more accessible can be found under ‘More information.’

General rules of accessibility:

  • Content that is written in plain English
  • Font size, style and colour are easily accessible
  • Consistent, clear layout
  • 'Style' options for formatting
  • Alt-text for images
  • Use captions and audio recordings where appropriate
  • Summarise charts and graphs
  • Compatibility with keyboard navigation 

Creating accessible digital content

When writing content, always consider your audience. This means using everyday language that avoids jargon and technical terms. Sentences and paragraphs should be kept short and focus on one idea or subject matter.

Word documents

Find any issues on your document with the Accessibility Checker. Further information is available on the Microsoft website.

Fonts for Word documents

To make sure that the font and colour is easily readable for those with low vision, check your Colour Contrast Analyser. Vision Australia has written a full explanation on How to Use the Colour Contrast Analyser.

Make body text 12 point or larger with a clear, easy to read font such as Ariel. Italics can be difficult to read, while bold can be used to emphasise particular texts.

Email

If a PDF is going to be sent, include the original Word Document. If said document is short, include it in the body of the email instead and use the subject line to clearly explain the email.

PDFs

Most PDFs are not accessible as they are read as images by the computer. Do not use PDFs as the only communication tool. Where possible, include information on a page and you ensure a PDF which is accessible.

Video Content

Where possible, provided closed captions that don’t go to the edge of the screen. A full list of caption tips is available in the Ministry of Social Development Accessible Communications Handbook.

Social Media

There are plenty of ways to make your social media posts more accessible regardless of your platform. The Australian Network on Disability have a full checklist of helpful hints.

Creating accessible print design

Fonts

When printing content, make body text 12 point or larger with a clear, easy to read font such as Ariel. If you are printing onto paper, make sure the font is a heavy weight and remember that italics can be difficult to read, while bold can be used to emphasise particular texts.

Design

Remember that numbers are more difficult to read that words and avoid underlining. When laying out text, the space between lines should be between 1.5 and twice the space between words, with the words themselves evenly spaced on a plain background.

Printing

Use heavy paper with a matt or satin finish.

Further information

For more detail about how to make your content accessible, check out Making Accessible documents and websites: New Zealand Blind Foundation.