Thursday, 16 April 2020

Posters. Accessible written content

In the last blog I talked about the importance of the first impression.

Your first impression is the visual impression.

Irrespective of whether you creating a poster or document or brochure some other things are just as important.

  • Consistency - where are the images consistently?
  • Predictability - where do I go next/what do I read next?
  • What is the topic? Should this content be in more than 1 poster or brochure or document. Mostly for Easy English this is a definite yes.

Let's look at 2 posters created for COVID19 recently.
1) Developed by Australian Easy English Writer 

2) UK developed Easy Read for an Australian audience.

Australian Easy English 
Australian Easy English 

UK developed Australian content Easy Read  



Easy English

UK developed Australian
Easy Read


With image

Multiple images left and right of image
Placement of images
Title on left of text.
Body, consistently on top of text
Title – left and right of text. 
Body of text - Most on left, but also on Right and above text
Use of white (empty) space

Double line space throughout

Images per page 

Space for each image
No. Often overlap
Selection of images


Used by people with disability


Of people with disability.

UK models

Use of columns
Yes – minimum text and image
Yes – columns filled with text and images. One or two words per column width.
Use of
-       Bold
-       Sentence case
-       Italics

Yes – heading

Yes - heading and body of text
No. eg: DO NOT; CALL
Yes eg: CALL
Yes – telephone number
Standard format for phone numbers
1 per poster
Multiple topics

Even with this small comparison there are significant differences in the 2 types of posters. This has an impact for our readers with more limited literacy. Visually the reader needs to ask where do I start: where do I go: which bit is important: what is the green triangle for?

Formatting such as sentence case only and no italics has been identified as 2 elements which all readers need. Why then should a document that has an intended audience of people with lower literary have these elements in their document?

Some language differences.
Although only a small sample, the differences in these posters reflect what I discovered in the larger language analysis completed using 5 documents in Easy English and 5 documents in Easy Read, rather than single page posters. 



Easy English 
Poster L        Poster R

UK developed Australian
Easy Read
Number of words
13                       26
Use of grammatical markers, eg ing, ly, plural
1 -plural            2 - plural
– ing – 2
-       ly – 1
-       ed – 1
-       plural - 3
Sentence length
1 sentence;        1 sentence;
Of 4 words        Of 4 words

7 sentences;
Ave 8.2 words long
4 phrases.         6 phrases
Ave 2 word        Ave 3.5
long                   words long
If …then statements
0                         0
Use of conjunctions
Eg: ‘and‘  ‘or’
0                        0
Use of contractions eg: won’t 
0                        0
Everyday word use
COVID-19 or Coronavirus
COVID-19 (1)    COVID-19 (1)
Coronavirus (2)

 There are other areas for word analysis.
One is to look at the number of words with more than 1 syllable.



Easy English

Poster L       Poster R
UK developed Australian
Easy Read
Words with more than 1 syllable
2                          5
2 syll – 1              2 syll - 5
3 syll - 1
2 syll – 8
3 syll –
4 syll –1
5 syll - 2
Percent of total words
15%                17%
Number of words with more than 3 syllables
0                        0
 3 = 5%

 These findings are typical for all the comparative data I have collected between Easy English and Easy Read content. Keeping in mind that if someone has difficulty saying a word, they are less likely to understand the word and use it themselves. Additionally they are less able to make the connection with that word written down. In my typical consumer reviews, consumers have difficulty saying most words over 2 syllables in length. They rarely use them, and rarely know what they mean. 

All this analysis is critical to know about and be aware of as you construct your accessible content to provide best practice accessible, functional and meaningful information for everyone.

Let's agree that Easy English and Easy Read are different. Individually you may have a consumer who can manage more complex information. However, if that is all you develop for everyone you are leaving a substantial and very vulnerable cohort of people out of the circle of information.

Happy to talk with you about other data I have collected, and the impact on developing effective Easy English or book into my training. Learn more about how you can write effective and best practice Easy English. Details on my home page  

Easy English resources
Poster. Look for the signs
Poster. Look after your self.
Visit for all the Easy English resources

Stay safe, Cathy

Cathy Basterfield
Owner Access Easy English
Consultant – Speech Pathologist
Telephone: 0466 579 855

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