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Summary: Creating accessible documents (MS Office, Google Apps, PDFs) will go a long way toward making the U more accessible to more people. And it doesn't even take a lot of work. (In fact, it can SAVE time!)

Broadly, these are the characteristics of accessible documents:

Your day-to-day communications will be improved when you apply these principles and techniques.


Scannability means that the reader can quickly scan down the page to find out what it contains. Scannability is enhanced when headings are appropriately formatted and descriptive and when there is adequate space between paragraphs of text (see Headings).


Information contained in documents is not searchable when it is contained in images, because digital devices must be able to read some kind of text in order to determine what is contained in the image. Text in images always should be offered in an alternative format (see Alt Text) or converted to text using optical character recognition (OCR; see Accessible PDFs).


Legibility is an ergonomic term that refers to whether it’s physically possible to read the text. Factors that affect legibility are choice of font, size of the text, and color/contrast between the text and background (see Color & Contrast).


Readability refers to how easily the message of a particular document can be understood. One key factor that affects readability is the style of the writing--we’re striving for plain and simple over verbose and complex.

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