And how to make more informed font choices.

Content By The Readability Group

Large classic hand drawn E on graph paper
Large classic hand drawn E on graph paper

Typefaces are the foundation of accessible visual reading experiences, so choosing a performant typeface that enhances legibility and readability for people with poor vision, learning disabilities, aphasia, dyslexia or low adult literacy is of paramount importance if you want your written information to be as accessible as possible.

The type design elements in this article form a baseline for accessibility. To be truly accessible type has to be designed in combination with the other best practices but without a good choice of typeface things like colour contrast will have limited impact.

The elements listed below…

I’m sitting here contemplating my new and rather mysterious condition Long-Covid and wondering how this is changing the way I, and many others, will interface with the world.

COVID viruses with the hashtag a11y in them
COVID viruses with the hashtag a11y in them

Long-Covid manifests in different ways with different people. There are lots of symptoms being monitored, such as:

  • Brain Fog which is a rather general term for ‘cognitive impairment’
  • Vision Problems
  • Joint and Muscle Pain
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Breathlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Heart Problems
  • Depression
  • Tinnitus
  • Fatigue…

Articles by the UK Gov, the NHS, BBC, Guardian, WHO and others refer to over 55 symptoms identified so far, here is a list of 28 of them and these look like long-term problems as the NHS are already dealing with tens of thousands of people in the UK whose Post COVID symptoms have persisted for over…

Why has it been necessary for lawmakers to tell designers how to do their job? This is a question that is long overdue for discussion.

Logo that says UX Design, but part of the logo is masked so it reads LX Design
Logo that says UX Design, but part of the logo is masked so it reads LX Design
Legal Experience Design

Dieter Rams once said,Indifference towards people and the reality in which they live is actually the one and only cardinal sin in design”, and yet as a Head of UX for 11 years I have watched an industry sin repeatedly so much there are now legal frameworks in place to try to prevent sins happening.

The problem as I see it is that UX Designers don’t stop and think enough about what that job title actually means.

Starting with the literal “it is about designing experiences for users”. We can all buy into that.

We understand that the experience…

part 1 of 2

Someone reading the tea leaves and the word A11y is on the cup
Someone reading the tea leaves and the word A11y is on the cup
A11y Tasseography

Up until this March this year I had been an accessibility manager for 16 years. In that time period, there have been 4 questions that have really bugged me because I have never found a satisfactory answer to any of them.
The answers have alluded me because we never had the relevant data, so instead, we tried to read the accessibility tea leaves, and hoped that our interpretation of the patterns they formed were accurate.

There are ways of ascertaining whether things are going well, such as compliance. I never advocate compliance as an answer to whether all users have…

If I had a TARDIS and could travel back in time to 2005, which is when I founded the BBC’s Digital Accessibility Team, what would I say to myself? What advice would I give me?

This is a little book of quips, tips, affirmations, and truths that have helped me shape the BBC’s strategy and embed accessibility into its culture.

BTW I have published this as an article, a presentation, a video and a set of posters only. There is no book… so please don’t go looking for one.

The Little Book of Accessibility by Gareth Ford Williams.
The Little Book of Accessibility by Gareth Ford Williams.

This article was originally designed as a deck of presentation slides…

The answer to the question in the title of this article is fundamentally simple, yet as with so many simple things, it is fundamentally complex. The most obvious answer to the question is of course: letters. But letters come in different sizes and shapes, like humans.

Before we can even consider the letters — the typography — we have to consider our readers and evaluate what we can do with considerate typography to help them access our words. Then there are the words themselves which can have awkward letter combinations that may possibly erect barriers in how they are read.

As so much of what neurodivergent users need is rooted in a mixture of usability best practices and accessibility considerations, I wondered if there was a need for a Cognitive perspective on UX Design Principles that not only brings a neurodivergent perspective, but also grounds itself through links to relevant guidance and resources. Then one thing lead to another…

Gareth Ford Williams
Gareth Ford Williams
Gareth Ford Williams

Design Principles are nothing new. There are Universal Design Principles, Inclusive Design Principles, NN Groups Usability Heuristics, etc.

These are all very useful resources, but they did not feel like they were quite what I was looking for as something seemed…

Gareth Ford Williams

Director at and The Readability Group, and Ex-Head of UX Design and Accessibility at the BBC. I have ADHD and I’m Dyslexic.

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