Sunday, April 26, 2009

chasing accessibility

Part of the redesign work at the moment is improving accessibility. Not in the sense of making things sound comprehensible to as screen-reader or having adjustable type size; although that sort of thing is certainly on the cards, I'm expecting that to come in through design. My concern is mostly with content, and with making it more accessible to all.

To this end, I had a meeting with a specialist who helps young people with delayed language or learning difficulties access information. Very interesting. I was expecting that she would be producing translated materials, may even have some I could adapt. That wasn't the case, as the group of young people she supports has issues so diverse that each one needs an individual approach.

However, she explained, there are concepts which everyone can use, to make information more accessible to all:
  • Cut up information into single concepts
  • Step through each concept bit by bit
  • Use subheadings to divide up information
  • Highlight key words
  • Use one sentence to say one thing
  • Use active sentences and short, unambiguous words
  • Use explanatory images, not decorative images
  • Keep things clean and clear, without additional, distracting content
  • Use CAPTIONED video
... a very useful starting point -- one that suggests perhaps a "simple view" style sheet? We'll have to see.

In the meantime, I obviously went off researching websites which provided good free information resources. for young people with LDD. Mostly, I just found people selling packs, but I did turn up this: Songs for Your Body presents Personal, Social and Health Education for Young People with Learning Disabilities through the medium of catchy songs!