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Bb Accessibility Tip: Text Formatting

by Janice Florent

The second tip in my series of accessibility related blog posts will focus on text formatting. Here are a few suggestions for making text legible for persons with a visual impairment and that work for nearly everyone.

Contrast – Use the highest possible contrast for text image showing contrasting text that is effective and text that is not effective

Point Size – The relationship between readability and point size differs somewhat among typefaces. image showing font point size that is effective and point size that is not effective

Leading – Spacing between lines of text, should be at least 25 to 30 percent of the point size. image showing leading that is effective and leading that is not effective

Font Family – Avoid complicated, decorative or cursive fonts. When they must be used, reserve them for emphasis only. image showing leading that is effective and leading that is not effective

Sans-serif or standard serif fonts with familiar, easily recognizable characters are best. image showing difference between serif and san-serif fonts

Font Style – Roman typeface, using upper and lower cases, is more readable than italics, oblique or condensed. image showing font style that is effective and font style that is not effective

Some additional points to consider:

  • Color should not be the only method used to convey information
  • Avoid red or green text or text decoration, such as Word Art, Shadows, 3D, etc.
  • Use bold or italic to display emphasis
  • Do not underline text (screen readers interpret underlines as links)
  • Avoid writing whole sentences in capital letters
  • Avoid moving or blinking text
  • Keep the number of fonts used to a minimum
  • The reading order should be the same as the visual order

You will remove significant barriers for the visually impaired if you take these suggestions into consideration when creating course content. An added bonus is that there will be students without disabilities, as well as those who have chosen not to disclose their disability to you, who will find your use of these tips helpful as well.

If you are interested in getting more information about text formatting refer to "Making Text Legible" at Light House International.

1 thought on “Bb Accessibility Tip: Text Formatting

  1. Pingback: CAT FooD » Blog Archive » Accessibility is for Everyone

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