Dear readers, 

When it comes to communication, accessibility can feel like a minefield. From the needs of individuals to legal requirements and existing health & social care infra-structures, it can be difficult to navigate even with the best intentions. 

At Easy Health, the creation of accessible health content is our speciality. We can help and will give you a little tour of general guidelines and best design practices. All advice is informed by a diverse team that includes colleagues with lived experience of learning disability and autism. 

Accessible communications: what should service users expect? 

Users should expect to find communications they can understand and documents that are meaningful, support independence and decision making. 

It may sound like an understatement, but if you design for users on the autistic spectrum, users of screen readers, users with visual impairment, physical or motor disabilities, hearing impairments or dyslexia (this list of disabilities / conditions is non-exhaustive), your designs must be tailored to their specific needs. 

While you may need to make your content accessible to all, you still have to stop and consider individual needs, and how to meet them meaningfully. The truth is that accessibility applies to everyone. 

It is about you adapting communication to users. Not the other way round! 

What can you do about it? Be clever, make a plan. 

What does it mean in practice? 

You should start by asking yourself 3 questions: 

  • Who is the content for? 
  • What are the barriers they face? 
  • What can I do to help them? 

Your strategy should: 

Factor accessibility into the entire content development cycle and consider: 

  • The needs of service users: their needs, the barriers they face
  • How you anticipate their needs: what can you offer? 
  • The format(s) of communication you will use.
  • The type of information you will prioritise. 
  • Who pays for the creation of accessible formats. 
  • Who is best suited to develop that content.
  • Treat accessibility as a team sport and outline: The communication standards already in place and what needs improving.
  • Who is responsible for ensuring standards are met. 
  • How the strategy is enforced and monitored. 
  • The need for knowledge and skills: assess & invest. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of accessible communications: text design and content 

Please find below a list of Dos & Don'ts to help you get started.

General advice

These are general advice for accessible communications:

  • involve users in designing content! 
  • let users ask for their preferred communication  
  • don't make telephone the only means of contact for users, offer alternative communication routes 
  • consider producing materials in various formats (for example, audio and video) 

Text: written content


  • use plain English 
  • write in use simple sentences and bullets 
  • keep content short, clear, and simple 
  • build simple and consistent layouts
  • use good contrasts
  • use a combination of colour, shapes, and text 
  • align text to the left and keep a consistent layout
  • use a clearly shaped and readable font
  • font size (12 is a bare minimum)
  • break up content with sub-headings and images 
  • ensure text is visible when magnified   
  • offer both PDF and .doc formats, PDF is often incompatible with assistive technology 


  • use figures of speech and idioms 
  • use complicated words or figures of speech (if you can't find an easier term for
  • complicated word, add an explanation for what the word means) 
  • create a wall of text 
  • put too much information in one place 
  • make users read long blocks of content 
  • use large blocks of heavy text 
  • use small font size 
  • underline words, use italics or write capitals 
  • bunch interactions together 
  • separate actions from their context 
  • force users to remember things from previous pages - give reminders and prompts (reinforce the message) 

Page Design


  • use simple colours 
  • build simple and consistent layouts use good contrasts
  • use a combination of colour, shapes, and text 
  • keep a consistent layout 
  • follow a linear, logical layout  
  • break up content with sub-headings and images  
  • use images and diagrams to support text  
  • use pictures for illustration purpose only (no decorative pictures) 
  • use colour to convey meaning 


  • make users read long blocks of content 
  • build complex and cluttered layouts 
  • use decorative pictures 
  • use colours for decorative purpose;
  • use too bright contrasting colours... or low colour contrasts! 

In our next newsletter, we will address accessibility for screen-based communications, and for video and audio content. 

If on your journey towards accessibility you realise you need more support, feel free to contact us:

click the pink button

We collaborate with colleagues with a lived experience of learning disability &/ or neurodiversity to offer the following services: 

free documents on a variety of health conditions accessible on our website: 
translation: standard health documents into easy read documents 
trainings for health and social care professionals on how to improve communication and support for people with disabilities &/ or autism 

To contact us for a chat, a quote, or a booking, click this pink button or email: [email protected]

Kind regard 

The Easy Health Team 

[email protected] 

Easy Health is managed by Generate. Generate is registered in England and Wales under charity number 1069548 at 73 Summerstown, London SW17 0BQ. Most images used on the site are from Photosymbols. Easy Health is a library of accessible information. We share the work of different organisations, but are not responsible for content. Always check information with a qualified health practitioner.
Log in | Powered by White Fuse