Clear Communications, by Molly Beebee
Last week, I attended an amazing workshop on clear communications and wanted to share some of what I learnt. The workshop was facilitated by Sarah Brown-Fraser from Activity Alliance. The workshop was part of the Access to Nature programme at Barnwood Trust, and it was a great opportunity to learn about how we can make our communications more accessible and inclusive.
Here are my key takeaways from the workshop:
1. Keep it simple: It's important to use clear and straightforward language that everyone can understand. Avoid using technical terms or jargon that may be unfamiliar to your audience. The Hemmingway Editor is a great tool for checking plain English, or the readability function in Microsoft.
2. Be mindful of visual impairments: It's important to use high-contrast colours and provide alt-text descriptions for images to make content accessible for people with visual impairments. Provide audio descriptions or transcripts for videos as well. Start all designs in Word and keep plain text options available. We’re reviewing our leisure trails and access maps to check for colour contrast and different lines to show each trail.
3. Test for accessibility: Before publishing any communications, it's important to test them for accessibility using tools such as screen readers or colour contrast checkers.
Microsoft has a detailed Inclusive Design guidebook with more useful advice and information. During the workshop, we discussed the permanent, temporary and situational barriers that may disable a person. Inclusive design and clear communication are about removing these barriers, which almost always benefits more people than expected.
In conclusion, the workshop was a great reminder that accessible communication is important for everyone. It's our responsibility to make sure that our content is inclusive and easy to access for all. By following these simple tips, we can ensure everyone has equal access to the information we share.