If a large percentage of your customers do not speak English as a first language, where applicable, provide content in other languages or offer a translate button.
Break text into chunks using short paragraphs, lists and sub-headings in order to help members of the public quickly understand and absorb information.
Adopt word-count targets that are appropriate for members of the public and your content.
Suggested word counts are as follows:
People interact with text differently online than they do in print. Most people are more inclined to scan text on a website. Therefore, content should be presented in a way that members of the public can obtain key information quickly when they scan your website.
Steps to achieve this include:
Train content authors and editors in using these techniques.
The Centre of Excellence in Universal Design (CEUD) provides guidance on ‘ structure and style to maximise readability and scanning ’
Use a clear and easy to read font that people are familiar with and recognise easily. For example, Verdana or Helvetica.
The general guidance in emphasising important information is to:
If you must use technical words, clearly explain what they mean.
Where a reader may be unfamiliar with an abbreviation or acronym, spell it out the first time it is used, followed by the abbreviation or acronym in brackets.
For example, the Personal Public Service (PPS) number.
Try to keep unfamiliar abbreviations or acronyms to a minimum.
There can be confusion around words such as e.g., i.e. etc.
Try to use the full English equivalents such as: ‘for example’, ‘that is’ and ‘and so on’.
Spell out your organisation’s name in full on every page. This is particularly important for members of the public who land there from search engines.
Develop a house style (or adopt a third-party style guide) to ensure consistency. This can also be applied to writing and layout standards.
Alternative (Alt) Text is text associated with images or media that conveys the same essential information as the image.
You should provide Alt Text for any images or time-based media used (for example, videos and advertisements). This enables people who can’t access the image or who have visual difficulties to read the content of the image. A text description of the images also allows the text to be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, Braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.
Alternative Text basics:
The Centre of Excellence in Universal Design (CEUD) provides guidance on Alt Text
Pretend to describe the image to a person over the phone. This should be used to determine what the image has to say and have the Alt Text give the same meaning.
Use good quality, relevant images that add to or support your text content. Avoid images that are low quality or images that are not relevant to the text content.