19 juny 2020

Advances in legislation to ensure easy-to-read information. Do they affect web accessibility?

Another step has been taken this week to ensure easy-to-read information.
All spokesmen for Senate parliamentary groups have supported the consideration of a bill to establish and regulate cognitive accessibility and its conditions of demand.
The rule that has been accepted for processing involves a reform of the General Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and their social inclusion, in order to more clearly regulate cognitive accessibility and its application.

At TOTHOMweb we value this progress very positively. Our company collaborates with Easy Reading Association and is currently working to make its website more accessible and maintainable.

What is Easy Reading (LF)?

According to the definition that the Easy Reading Association has on its website, they are books, administrative and legal documents, informative texts, web pages ... that follow the international guidelines of the IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) and d 'Inclusion Europe in terms of language, content and form'.

The Easy Reading Association reviews Easy Reading materials and validates them with the LF logo.

Who is easy reading for?

Easy Reading is aimed at everyone and especially at people with transient reading difficulties (immigration, late reading, poor schooling ...) or permanent (learning disorders, functional diversity, senility ...).

Why is LF necessary?

  • Because access to reading and information is a right and a social necessity.
  • Because reading is a pleasure that allows you to share ideas, thoughts and experiences.
  • Because many texts have an excess of technicalities, a complex syntax and an unclear presentation.
  • Because more than 30% of the population has reading difficulties.

Legislation and web accessibility guidelines

The right to access information in Easy Reading format is recognized by the Accessibility Law approved by the Parliament of Catalonia in 2014.

In June 2018, the “Standard UNE 153101: 2018 EX Easy Reading. Guidelines and recommendations for the elaboration of documents ”that specifies the guidelines for the adaptation, creation and validation of documents in Easy Reading.
The aim of the standard is to help and guide the creation and adaptation of quality documents in Easy Reading, documents aimed at a very wide audience that has different reading difficulties due to different circumstances.

The standard includes recommendations for both the wording of the text and the design of the document.
Also in June 2018, the International Guidelines for Accessibility to Content 2.1 were published, which are an evolution of the 2.0 and which must be
are the ones that have to be fulfilled by the public administrations and a large number of companies.
One of the great innovations of these guidelines is the emphasis they place on taking into account people with cognitive or learning problems, although
2.0 already mentioned issues such as the need to include icons, and so on.

One of the new criteria in Guidelines 2.1 that can most clearly help easy reading is 1.4.12: “space between texts” (level AA).
Spacing can affect the way a website’s content is understood, especially for visitors with learning disabilities, comprehension, language impairments, and so on.

The goal of WCAG 2.1 with this guideline is to ensure that web visitors have the option to override the paragraph, letter, and space between words, as well as the height of the lines, so that they can adjust the text without losing functionality.
In addition to people with cognitive disabilities, autism, etc. this criterion also favors, for example, some visually impaired users who use custom style sheets to tailor the presentation of the text to their needs. To facilitate access to content for this and other types of users, accessibility guidelines require that they be able to:

  • Adjust the height of the line to at least 1.5 times the size of the font.
  • Spacing paragraphs up to at least twice the font size.
  • Adjust the space between letters to at least 0.12 times the font size.
  • Adjust the spacing between words to at least 0.16 times the font size.
  • This requirement does not imply that the content must have this presentation initially, but does not preclude adjusting it to obtain it.

Essential criteria for making websites accessible through easy reading and navigation elements

We summarize below the essential issues that must be taken into account in any website in order to facilitate the navigation and understanding of the contents for the group of people who need the texts in easy reading but also certain elements that favor a simple navigation. Also, as noted in the previous section, other groups such as people with low vision may also need some of the adaptations below.

  • Avoid background sounds and provide a mechanism to stop them.
  • Apply consistent navigation to the various pages of the website.
  • Include similar Interface Elements that allow for similar interactions.
  • Include understandable and frequent icons in order to improve usability and understanding.
  • Avoid text images.
  • Proper organization of content (use of headings, lists, complex interactions in several short steps, consistent navigation, division of very long pages).
  • Use simple language.
  • Apply Easy Reading guidelines.
  • Expand abbreviations and acronyms.
  • Use fonts like sans-serif although some people with autism prefer a serif font).
  • Include labels with simple descriptions.
  • Provide alternative texts.
  • Reduce the number of links and ensure that they are identified as such.
  • Allow to increase the size of the text and use whitespace.
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Consultora d'accessibilitat i suport lingüístic

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