UCL has a duty to comply with the Equality Act 2010, which requires universities to make reasonable adjustments to cater for staff and students with disabilities to ensure they can access the services and opportunities offered.
This involves not only reacting to the needs of individuals on request, but also trying to anticipate their needs. These adjustments are often simple and this guidance will help you create clear and well designed communications for all your audiences. We encourage you to use our UCL branded templates and website content management system as a starting point.
- Use a clear, sans serif font for body text – Arial or Helvetica (ideally size 12 or above).
- Set leading / line spacing at 150% (1.5) of the font size.
- Always align text to the left and avoid using justified text.
- Avoid italics and block capitals.
- Use the least amount of text styles possible and do not use effects such as drop shadows.
- Do not break or hyphenate words over two lines.
- Create a simple and uncluttered layout and avoid placing text on top of complex imagery or pattern.
- Break long sections of text down by adding headings, subheadings, lists and highlight boxes. Leave some clear space.
- Use plain and consistent language. See our editorial house style
- Avoid long lines of text. Keep to maximum of fourteen words per line.
- Avoid widows and orphans (lines at the beginning or end of a paragraph, which are left at the top or bottom of a column, separated from the rest of the paragraph).
- Use high contrast colours. See our colour palette for further information.
- Black text on a white or very pale background is most legible.
- If the information is also going to be available online, provide the website address in the publication in an accessible form (keep urls' short and easy to type).
- Avoid glossy paper and choose a sufficient weight (a minimum of 90gsm) to avoid ‘show through’.
- If the paper is to be folded, avoid placing text over the creases.
- If the document is to be bound, create sufficient margin in the centre for the text to read easily.
- Ensure any forms provide plenty of space for response.
Further information on making materials accessible
- UCL digital accessibility
- Best practice in building websites at UCL
- UCL e-learning accessibility (Moodle)
- Web Accessibility in Mind checklist and colour contrast checker
- W3C Web Accessibility Initiative
- AbilityNet guide for creating accessible documents
- AbilityNet guide to creating accessible emails
- Gov.uk guide to producing accessible communication formats