Designing Inclusive Images and Words
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Media may be seen on television, heard on the radio, or experienced online, but it begins as a story told with words and images. It is important to consider accessibility from the very beginning of a media story by writing in plain language, describing images, and using inclusive and accessible graphic design.

A live broadcast media story must be clear and concise since the user can’t go back to re-read a sentence or look at an image a second time. The International Center for Journalists recommends the following when writing for broadcast media: write in your own voice and keep the sentences short; be specific and keep the writing simple; build the script around the visual images, and tell the story in a logical order (International Journalists’ Network, 2013).

This module will examine how to write in plain language and how signs and symbols can be used to communicate meaning. We will review some of the standard access signs and symbols and investigate the Accessible Icon Project. We will also become familiar with the history of braille and how it is used by people who cannot access print materials.

Photographer Steve Kean is profiled and we will look at his portfolio of photographic images along with image descriptions. And lastly, we will learn how to create alternative text for images, how to design documents in a creative and accessible way, and how to make accessible Word, InDesign, and PDF documents and PowerPoint presentations.

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Learning Outcomes

  • Compare plain language with jargon in order to create accessible written and broadcast media content.
  • Identify the International Symbol of Access and the Accessible Icon Project in order to assess current access signs and symbols in Canada and around the world.
  • Define braille, alternative text (alt text) and image description in order to demonstrate some of the key ways visual and digital content is made accessible.
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Important Terms and Concepts

  • Plain language
  • The International Symbol of Access
  • Braille, alternative text (alt text) and image description
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Connect to Practice

  • Make accessible Word, InDesign, and PDF documents
  • Make accessible PowerPoint presentations
  • Write in plain language
  • Create alternative text (alt text) and image descriptions