General recommendations

Introduction #

This section presents general recommendations to ensure the accessibility of your content regardless of the medium used (email, PPT, PDF, Word, etc.).

Check colours #

Make reading easier #

  • Align texts to the left (avoid justifying).
  • Put a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence but avoid whole sentences in capital letters.
  • Avoid italics.
  • Use simple, sans serif fonts: Arial, Calibri or accessible font Dfa, having a size of at least 10 points.
  • Set up simple punctuation.
  • Avoid textured backgrounds (images).
  • Do not make repeated carriage returns or tabulation to space (but the “Paragraph & Spacing” or “Indent” function in Word, for example).
  • Avoid layout tables or complex data tables (except in HTML if the table structure is accessible).
  • Avoid “image” content that conveys information: graphs, diagrams, diagrams (except in HTML if a textual alternative is available).
  • Use clear turns of phrase, short sentences and simple construction. One idea per sentence.
  • Avoid words that are too complicated or specific to a domain as much as possible, and if not, explain them.
  • Use proper typographic characters: dash -, em-dash —, “rounded quotes”.
  • Avoid foreign words, abbreviations except those that are genuinely used.
  • Signal the end of the document (for instance, an image saying “End of email”, or a white-on-white text “End of document”).

Layout with tables #

Knowing that email clients (Outlook included) still sometimes require to use a table layout: add a role="presentation" to your table tags so that text-to-speeches understand it's just formatting.

Accessible data tables #

In order for your data tables to be accessible, simplify them as much as possible from their design:

  • Avoid nested tables one inside the other (maximum 2 levels of nesting).
  • Avoid merging cells, using too many empty cells, adding background images.
  • Ensure sequential reading (we must be able to read from left to right and top to bottom).

And for the implementation in a web page for example, see our dedicated article.