Designing Accessible Content

Making your content accessible

The purpose of creating accessible content is to make communication as effective as possible with all users whether they are students, staff or external audiences. Accessible content covers the language and message, the structure and the format of all documents. This means that you need to take account of the following:


  • Always use a combination of colour, shapes and text to convey meaning.
  • Avoid the use of colour as the only way to convey meaning.


  • Always use left-aligned text, 1.5 line spacing and a suitable font size - usually 12pt for Microsoft Word, web, and print.
  • Avoid centre and right alignment of text or full justification.


  • Always break up information with meaningful headings, sub-headings, and one-level bullet lists.
  • Avoid complex or cluttered layouts, multi-layered menus or lists.


  • Always write headings in sentence case and use heading styles in online text boxes and Microsoft Word docs.
  • Avoid the use of text size, all capital letters and layout as the only way to convey structure.


  • Always add meaningful alternative (alt) text to images, and captions and transcripts for videos.
  • Avoid the use of rich media content without providing a text alternative.


  • Always use a readable font with sufficient colour contrast from the background.
  • Avoid low colour contrasts, small font sizes and cursive or script fonts.


  • Always make important information clear and easy to find.
  • Avoid underlined words, italics, and all capital letters for emphasis, headings or body text.


  • Always write descriptive and meaningful hyperlinks and use a URL shortener if required.
  • Avoid using uninformative links and never use ‘click here’.


  • Always ensure all content can be navigated with a keyboard.
  • Avoid forcing control by use of a mouse or touch screen alone.


  • Always use a textbox to increase contrast between images and text.
  • Avoid text over images or patterned backgrounds.

Video and Audio

  • Always allow user control and navigation of all video and audio content.
  • Avoid the automatic start of any audio or video content.

How to make existing content accessible

Good Practice Guidelines