I’ve been thinking about accessible text this week. There are two aspects to it – the visual quality and the actual content.
I have a hunch that if you can understand the words in a piece of text, it makes it easier to read visually (i.e. to see). I assume that intuitive understanding of the text helps the brain fill in the visual gaps. It’s rather like lip readers. They don’t recognise a lot of what is being said, but they get enough to work it out. The context also helps of course.
According to the guidelines on clear print, if you print large blocks of text in capitals you make it much more difficult to read, because you remove the familiar shape of words, which normally help people recognise them. It seems likely to me therefore, that if you use unfamiliar language, it makes it harder for the brain to recognise it when you see it.
I must try to find out if anyone has done some proper research into this.
Yesterday I spent the day at Sight Village. This is the major exhibition of equipment and services for visually impaired people, held in Birmingham each year. I didn’t see anything startlingly new, but I did meet up with lots of people I know from various organisations, and got to know others for the first time, so it was a great networking opportunity.
Follow this link to learn more about Sight Village:
I recently met with a group of volunteers from Action on Disability and Work UK who were having a day out at M Shed. They were particularly impressed with the PenFriends, which pre-date the DiscoveryPens that are now available at the City Museum and Art Gallery. In 2011 we won the Jodi Mattes award for Digital Access on site for using PenFriends to provide audio access for visually impaired visitors and others at M Shed.
Here is a picture of me taken at the award ceremony at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea. Also shown are David Anderson (Director General of the National Museums of Wales) who presented the award, Marcus Weisen (Director of the Jodi Mattes Trust) and Elaine Brooks (my PA).
You can read more about the Action on disability and Work UK volunteer’s visit to M Shed by following the link: