Four pillars of Easy Read

Four pillars of Easy Read

Four pillars of Easy Read

In a previous life I was an accessible information designer for the NHS. I honed my skills in the 90s, when Valuing People was driving improvements across public services in the UK. It was a great time for people with learning disabilities and it was the era that Easy Read was born - the accessible information format for people with a learning disability.

Over the years I have come to recognise four key areas we must address when making our information. I call these the four pillars of Easy Read.

Number one. Co-production is a vital part of the process. Involving people in designing information will always make it better. You will be more grounded and learn a lot.

Pillar two is writing well. The often neglected but most important part of Easy Read. Of course our aim should be to write shorter, more concise text. But we should also look to make our writing engaging and interesting. This takes imagination and plenty of practice.

Pictures add meaning to the words in Easy Read but only if you use them well. This is the third pillar. You should put as much thought into choosing your images as you do into writing the words. Some pictures can be learned like symbols. Others help the reader get a sense of an overall message or tell visual stories.

And the fourth pillar? - Design and layout. This is the vessel in which we send the message. Your pages should be clear with space around the elements so they are easy to focus on. Headings should jump from the page in bold fonts while the main text should be comfortable to read and bigger than you might usually use.

When all these things come together the result is great information and something that your audience will want to engage with.

Many of us who make Easy Read have had to find our own route, picking up knowledge along the way through our experiences. There is no simple path or handbook to follow.

Well today that is all about to change as we launch our Foundation Course in Easy Read. We have distilled all our learning and experience from the last 30 years into an online course that teaches you how to make information more accessible. The four pillars of Easy Read is just one of many lessons covered.

If you would like to sign up and book your place you can find out more here.